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NASA Captures Fatally Beautiful Aurora That Could Hurt Earth Despite Appearances
By Yimin Huang, 23 Apr 2019
Image by Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN, StarryEarth) via NASA
Some things are just too beautiful for your own good. NASA has photographed a breathtaking phenomenon and delivered a chilling message of what it means.
While auroras are usually harmless solar storms that occur when charged particles from the sun reach Earth’s atmosphere, NASA warns that this particular one could one day “impair civilization.”
The space agency names the ominous aurora ‘Beauty and the Beast’ due to both its alluring appearance and potential destructive qualities.
“Admire the beauty but fear the beast,” NASA declares. “The beauty is the aurora overhead, here taking the form of a great green spiral… The beast is the wave of charged particles that creates the aurora but might, one day, impair civilization.”
The famous solar storm that hit Earth back in 1859 during the ‘Carrington Event’ where charged particles from a solar flare struck Earth’s magnetosphere could very well happen again to disastrous consequences.
NASA states, “Were a Carrington-class event to impact the Earth today, speculation holds that damage might occur to global power grids and electronics on a scale never yet experienced.” This implies our communications networks might be cut off by the impact.
This ‘Beauty and the Beast’ photo was taken in 2016 over Thingvallavatn Lake in Iceland. Perhaps terrifyingly beautiful would be an apt description.
[via Metro UK, cover image by Juan Carlos Casado (TWAN, StarryEarth) via NASA]
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