Surprise Solar Storm Slams Into Earth

This might explain the weird songbird singing a few nights ago before the dawn. Normally, songbirds here begin their operas right as the first tendrils of sunrise trail over the horizon. The other night, it was pitch black except for the sliver of moon and planet alignments I went out to view. And in the dark, I was mystified at all the birds singing at 4:00 AM. This is probably what it was:

Live Science headline: Surprise solar storm with ‘disruptive potential’ slams into Earth

By Harry Baker published about 12 hours ago

Sub-headline: Experts were initially unsure what caused the freak geomagnetic event.

Scientists were recently left scratching their heads after a “potentially disruptive” solar storm smashed into Earth without warning.

The surprise solar storm hit Earth just before midnight UTC June 25 and continued throughout most of June 26, according to in new tab). Scientists classified it as a G1-class storm, which means it was strong enough to create weak power grid fluctuations, cause minor impacts to satellite operation, disrupt the navigational abilities of some migrating animals, and cause unusually strong auroras.

The unexpected solar storm coincided with the peak of an extremely rare five-planet alignment, where Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn lined up in the sky in order of their proximity to the sun (which hasn’t happened since 1864). Amateur astronomers in the northern hemisphere were able to capture images of the surprise auroras as they photobombed the neatly aligned planets.