By Michelle Tebolt, summer intern 2017 Above our heads, the aurora provides one of the biggest and best light shows on Earth. The light moves about, flashes across the sky, similar to some of the types of man-made lights we are familiar with. However, this light show isn’t to set the mood for a party. It[…]
What’s wrong with this infographic? A common misconception about the aurora is that it’s formed by particles streaming straight from the sun. But that’s not the whole story. By only considering the solar wind, we leave some key questions unanswered like why do we see the aurora at night (when we’re facing away from the sun)? The answer lies in magnetic reconnection in the magnetotail.
This post is written by Aurorasaurus guest blogger Nadine Kalmoni, a PhD student at Mullard Space Science Laboratory, University College London in the UK. The first time I saw this incredible image of the aurora (Figure 1) was just before Christmas of 2015 as a twitter post by a member of the public. I remember thinking, “Wow!” Photos and[…]
This is a post by our guest blogger this month, Justin Oldham, who is a former graduate student from the University of Alaska Fairbanks and an instructor at the University of New Mexico. While studying aurora-related acoustics in Alaska I frequently encountered people who’d heard the northern lights during particularly intense displays on very still[…]
Identifying Space Weather Phenomena Space weather is a complex field of study and can be a difficult term to define. According to NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center (SWPC), space weather is described as the variations in the space environment between the sun and Earth. Other planets have space weather, too. In fact, we have been[…]
Think you already know a lot about Aurora and orders of magnitude? Or, want to see where you land before you learn more? Test your knowledge, here! Have you looked into the sky at stars or the moon and wondered how far away they were? Outer space is large, beyond belief. Outer space is so[…]
We will explain the origins of one of more common measurements of geomagnetic activity, the Kp index, and compare it to the solar wind power that we talk about previously.
In our previous posts, we describe how the density, speed and magnetic field strength and direction of the solar wind are measured, what Bz is, and what those mean for the aurora. We also introduced a handy parameter called the solar wind power that combines all these measurements. Here, we provide more detail about the solar wind power that we use at Aurorasaurus.
We go into more detail about the role of magnetism in creating aurora and what “Bz” refers to.
What is the solar wind and what does it have to do with the aurora?