• Science

Aurora Observed in Hokkaido

Courtesy of Kitasubaru
Aurora is seen on the evening of Friday.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — A red aurora was observed in Hokkaido on Friday night.

It was visible with the naked eye. The aurora was apparently due to the result of a massive explosion that occurred on the sun’s surface about two days before.

Auroras occur when electrons from space collide with oxygen and nitrogen in the sky when they enter Earth along its magnetic field.

Auroras tend to occur in regions around the Arctic and the Antarctic. They can be observed in low-latitude areas such as Hokkaido when they occur due to a massive explosion on the sun’s surface.

From an observatory in the town of Rikubetsu in Hokkaido, the aurora started to be seen around 8:20 p.m. Friday, and then red lights of the aurora were observed.

It is the first time since October 2003 that the brightness of a low-latitude aurora has been confirmed at the observatory, according to officials of the facility.

“I didn’t think I could see the red lights so clearly with the naked eye,” Takuya Murata, 51, a staff member of the observatory, said. “It’s very moving.”