Rare Red Aurora Spotted in Ladakh

The night sky observatories of Hanle and Merak in Ladakh recently witnessed a spectacular and rare event—a bright red aurora. This is an extraordinary occurrence for India, where such phenomena are infrequent.

What are Auroras?

Auroras are stunning light displays in the sky, usually occurring near the poles. They happen when solar particles collide with the Earth’s magnetic field. This collision creates vivid patterns of light, which are a sight to behold.

Observations at Hanle and Merak

The Hanle observatory successfully captured images of the aurora towards the northern horizon. Unfortunately, the Merak observatory, located near Pangong Tso, faced obstructions from nearby mountains.

Aurora Events at Hanle

This is not the first time Hanle observatory has recorded such an event; another aurora was documented earlier this year on April 23. Auroras are typically seen in polar regions and are rare in equatorial areas like India. However, intense solar activities can sometimes make them visible farther from the poles.

Increased Aurora Activity Expected

Researchers have forecasted an increase in aurora events in the next couple of years. This increase is due to the 11-year solar cycle, and we are currently in an ascending phase with more solar flares anticipated leading up to the peak in 2025.

Hanle: A Dark Sky Reserve

Hanle’s significance stems from being India’s only dark sky reserve, where efforts are made to minimize light pollution, providing an ideal location for observing such natural spectacles.

Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project

On October 27, the Subansiri Lower Hydroelectric Project, which had already faced significant delays, encountered another setback. Located on the border of Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, this project experienced a substantial hillside collapse on the left side of the dam, leading to the deposition of debris into its reservoir. This event resulted in the obstruction of the only operational diversion tunnel and halted the flow of water downstream of the dam into the Subansiri River, a significant tributary of the Brahmaputra.



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