A solar storm also caused polar lights over Germany. The sky spectacle could be seen on Monday night in parts of Schleswig-Holstein, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Hamburg, North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony and Hesse, as the director of the Berlin planetarium at the Insulaner and the Wilhelm Foerster observatory, Monika Staesche said. There are also photos of the phenomenon from Thuringia and Brandenburg. According to Staesche, increased aurora activity was also to be expected in Germany on Tuesday night.
The glow is more likely to be seen in darker areas. This is unlikely in brightly lit cities such as Berlin.
According to Staesche, so-called solar storms are responsible for the greenish or reddish glow. In the process, electrically charged particles are ejected from the sun. If this happens in the direction of earth, the particles can reach us. They need about one and a half to two days to cover the distance of around 150 million kilometers. When they enter the earth's atmosphere, they glow. With normal solar activity, the auroras can only be seen at higher latitudes.
"What's glowing there are air molecules, either oxygen or nitrogen," explained Staesche. These are briefly charged by the electrically charged particles. "Then when they fall back to a neutral state, they emit that energy as such a glow."
According to the expert, green northern lights are usually generated by oxygen at an altitude of 80 to 150 kilometers. At an altitude of between 150 and 600 kilometers, nitrogen atoms produce red or blue colors. Reddish polar lights can be seen on many photos from Germany. "Since we are relatively far away from the polar regions, we can only see the northern lights in the higher layers of the atmosphere," explained the expert. "The lower ones are below the horizon from our point of view."