On September 11, 2017, a strong coronal mass ejection from our sun hit Mars, dazzling NASA's MAVEN (Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution) spacecraft's sensors.
This Mars aurora was 25x brighter than any seen before and double surface radiation levels!
“When a solar storm hits the Martian atmosphere, it can trigger auroras that light up the whole planet in UV light. The recent one lit up Mars like a light bulb,” said Dr. Sonal Jain, a member of MAVEN’s Imaging Ultraviolet Spectrograph instrument team and a researcher at the University of Colorado Boulder’s Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics.
“An aurora on Mars can envelope the entire planet because Mars has no strong magnetic field like Earth’s to concentrate the aurora near polar regions.”
“The energetic particles from the Sun also can be absorbed by the upper atmosphere, increasing its temperature and causing it to swell up.”
The strange thing about this large-scale event isn't its size but rather the timing. You see, our sun's activities follow an 11-year cycle with a peak in the middle, yet this massive solar storm occurred during a usually calm time. So this begs the question of what caused such unusual behavior.
All wise ancient civilizations of our great ancestors acknowledged and studied carefully, with surprising accuracy, the celestial phenomena in our skies as well as the influence these gigantic heavenly bodies have upon our earthly bodies and behavior.
Nowadays many people hardly look up, let alone within themselves. So remember to hit the pause button to take a breather from the hustle and bustle of busy daily life to reflect upon the direction you're heading in life or, at least, enjoy the beautiful light show above.