Were the Northern Lights really a solar flare, or something more sinister?

Northern Lights over California

The northern lights (also known as aurora) were seen globally over on May 10-11 recently and many people reported seeing the phenomenon far from the artic circle, from Vancouver, Canada to Point Reyes National Seashore in Northern California, Gansbaai in South Africa and Howick, New Zealand.

Images from across the globe

Northern lights in Southern Ontario, Canada

Mont Saint-Michel, France

Tromsø, Norway

Jungfraujoch, Switzerland

Vancouver, Canada


Edinburgh, Scotland


London, UK

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Boston, Massachusetts


There is a great thread here with many more images from across the globe.

What causes an aurora to be created?

Auroras, such as the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) and the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis), are created by a fascinating process that begins with activity on the Sun’s surface. 

The Sun emits streams of charged particles, known as the solar wind. When these particles reach Earth, they are guided by the planet’s magnetic field toward the poles. These particles collide with gases in Earth’s atmosphere, such as oxygen and nitrogen. The collisions cause these atmospheric gases to become ‘excited’, and when they ‘calm down’, they release photons — small bursts of energy in the form of light. Different gases release different colors of light; for example, oxygen gives off green and red light, while nitrogen can produce blue or purple light. The result is the beautiful, dancing lights in the sky, forming what we observe as auroras. The specific colors and patterns are influenced by factors such as the type of gas molecules involved and the altitude at which the collisions occur. Auroras typically occur between 80 miles and several thousand miles above the Earth’s surface.


In addition, a huge solar flare peaked in the early hours this morning (May 10) at 2:54 a.m. (0654 GMT) triggering either temporary or complete loss of high frequency (HF) radio signals across Asia, eastern Europe and eastern Africa. Solar flares are eruptions from sunspots on our sun’s surface that emit intense bursts of electromagnetic radiation.

Solar flares are often associated with the northern lights because both phenomena are related to the Sun’s activity. However, it is not the solar flare itself that directly causes the northern lights. Instead, it is the coronal mass ejection (CME) that often accompanies a solar flare that plays a crucial role in the formation of the northern lights.

According to the Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), Earth was subjected to a dynamic solar flare from an active sunspot called Region 3664 between May 10 and 13. It peaked on May 11 as a massive X5.8 class flare. The X-class constitutes the most powerful category of solar flares.

As a result, parts of the earth’s exposed side encountered temporary or complete loss of high frequency (HF) radio signals for a short period of time. 

During a solar maximum, the sun disgorges huge amounts of energy in the form of solar flares and coronal mass ejections (CMEs) which can adversely impact Earth’s magnetosphere, leading to frequent and intense geomagnetic storms which can manifest themselves as auroras. These spectacular visual displays were seen in several low latitude parts of the continental United States (Texas, Alabama, Florida etc) from May 10-13. 

This brief YouTube clip explains the difference between solar flares and CMEs and their cumulative effects.

Hold up, were those the northern lights caused by something else?

Were all those awesome pictures really the Northern Lights? Or something more sinister? One commentator has a different view:

Commentators on social media are saying that this was not a solar flare, but an effect caused by High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program (HAARP). Northern lights are observed in late fall/winter, peaking on the Dec 21 solstice, not in May. If this was due to solar flares, you’d see it when your side of the Earth is facing the sun, or near dusk/dawn, when it’s darker to make it more visible but the particles are can still reach your area at high altitude. Not in the middle of the night. Northern lights happen above the artic circle, not as far south as Puerto Rico.

Could the northern lights have been created by HAARP?

HAARP is based in Alaska and is a high-power, high frequency (HF) transmitter created for studying the ionosphere. The principal instrument is a phased array of 180 HF crossed-dipole antennas capable of radiating 3.6 megawatts into the upper atmosphere and ionosphere. Transmit frequencies are selectable in the range of 2.7 to 10 MHz. The HAARP research team announced that they will be carrying out tests from the 8th to the 10th of May 2024.

Experiments conducted by HAARP are not new. It has been accused of large ionospheric disturbances since 2016. In an experiment from their facilities in Alaska, both pencil beams and conical (or twisted) beam transmissions to create artificial ionization clouds. The conical beam used to sustain these clouds for up to 5 hours and severely disturbed satellite radio transmissions at 253 MHz. The use of such research tools as HAARP is valuable because the effects that are produced can be repeated in a controlled way, i.e. “where” and “when,” so that systematic observations and measurements can be made to characterize and understand them.

Critics say that HAARP doesn’t have enough power to generate auroras and that HAARP was a project to study bouncing short wave and satellite signals off of the ionosphere to improve communication.

Military interest in HAARP is due to its capability to enhance (or interfere with) communications. This invention provides the ability to put unprecedented amounts of power in the earth’s atmosphere at strategic locations and to maintain the power injection level, particularly if random pulsing is employed, in a manner far more precise and better controlled than heretofore accomplished by the prior art, particularly by the detonation of nuclear devices of various yields at various altitudes. Thus, it can be seen that the disrupting effects achievable by this invention can be employed to benefit by the party who is practicing this invention since knowledge of the various electromagnetic waves being employed and how they will vary infrequency and magnitude can be used to an advantage for positive communication and eavesdropping purposes at the same time.

Furthermore, HAARP can be used for weather modification by, for example, altering upper atmosphere wind patterns or altering solar absorption patterns by constructing one or more plumes of atmospheric particles which will act as a lens or focusing device. The earth’s magnetic field could be decreased or disrupted at appropriate altitudes to modify or eliminate the magnetic field in high Compton electron generation regions, as outlined in the HAARP Patent (4,686,605) by its inventor, Dr. Bernard Eastlund.

Is it possible this weekend’s once-in-a-lifetime event was manmade? Yes. Can I say with 100% accuracy that HAARP’s High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program is causing the events in the sky? No. However, I can say with 100% accuracy that there is a research program and it can cause events in the sky and there was testing happening on 8 to 10 May 2024.

What do you think?


The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program, “HAARP”, a Brief History and Engineering Review, Youtube 2023
HAARP (The High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program), YouTube January 2024
High-frequency Active Auroral Research Program, Wikipedia
Large ionospheric disturbances produced by the HAARP HF facility, AGU, June 2026
HAARP – Details of Its Capabilities From the Main HAARP Patent (4,686,605)
HAARP, the most powerful ionosphere heater on Earth, Physics Today, December 2015
HAARP May 2024 Press Release

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