A short but amazing video showing both an aurora and sunrise from the
International Space Station (ISS), published by the NASA Johnson channel.
Aurora Touching Sunrise. Credit: NASA Johnson
Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)
Polar Lights or Auroras are natural light displays predominantly seen in the high latitude (both Arctic and Antarctic) regions. If an aurora occurs in the Northern hemisphere, it is called “Aurora borealis” or “Northern lights”. If it is in the southern hemisphere, it is called “Aurora australis” or the “Southern lights”.
Both northern and southern lights are produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles (predominantly in the form of electrons and protons) in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere) due to Earth’s magnetic field, where their energy is lost. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emit light of varying color and complexity.
STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement) and the Milky Way at Childs Lake, Manitoba, Canada. The picture is a composite of 11 images stitched together. STEVE is short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement. It is a rare type of aurora, a thin purple ribbon of light. Scientists have now learned, despite its ordinary name, that STEVE may be an extraordinary puzzle piece in painting a better picture of how Earth’s magnetic fields function and interact with charged particles in space. People were out observing the aurora and they started noticing something that was overhead as well when they were seeing the aurora far to the northern regions. Liz MacDonald, a space scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and the leader of The Aurorasaurus team says: “It was unlike most aurora. (They) talked to scientists, but we didn’t know what it was. They said we’ll keep taking observations and we call it STEVE in the meantime”. “STEVE is mostly a very narrow purple arc and sometimes it has these little green features that go along with it as well that are kind of like waving fingers or a picket fence. That means that there’s plasma physics happening up there to cause that light, and to make these little discreet features that we don’t understand yet.” Image Courtesy: Krista Trinder. Image source: NASA Goddard Flight Center Photo Stream on Flickr
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