The aurora is well-known to the savvy Aurorasaurus observer – fanciful colored lights in the sky caused by charged particles energizing the atmosphere near the North and South poles. But did you know that you can observe aurora as far south as Arizona? Or that the sky still glows at night in the absence of any aurora? For the first time, a new project is capturing these rare events with affordable cameras located in high schools across the United States, also enabling space-science education.
There’s a new dancing light display in the sky, and it’s not the usual aurora. We call it “STEVE” and need your help to learn more!
What are those dark spots on the sun? Coronal holes! In this post, guest blogger Michael Kirk explains what a coronal hole is and tells us about current and upcoming research into the field.
Maps are developed to best describe what surrounds us. That is true on the ground, and it is also true in space. To detail traffic in space, we must know both the magnetic field and the electric field: how strong are they? In what direction are they pointing? But unlike the magnetic field, the electric field is very difficult to measure, especially close to Earth! Using data from the Van Allen Probe satellites, we managed to make the first ever comprehensive observations of plasma transport due to the electric field close to Earth. This is a technical feat that allows us to test our 50 year old theories, at last!
Aurora only occur in particular areas of the world and are highly unpredictable which are some of the reasons why many people feel fortunate to see them at all. And, for the majority of known human history, you could only experience the beauty and mystique of aurora in person. Not anymore! Recently, the first virtual[…]
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[…]
Thank you to those of you who contributed to auroral science in 2015! We’re excited to share some highlights of what we all collectively saw last year in the skies based on when you reported “Yes, I saw aurora!” Thanks for reporting through our form on our website – the answers you submit to each[…]
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[…]
For hundreds of years, aurora sightings have left people intrigued – for both their beauty and unpredictability. In any moment, they can surprise us as bright flashes of light in the night sky, dark above us. They appear like unexpected gifts, made of colorful swaths of light, dancing above us. In a dance that sometimes looks more like[…]