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Aurora Lightning

Aurora Lightning – The Fascinating Sun-Earth Connection!

The northern aurora lightning is an atmospheric phenomenon that’s regarded as the Holy Grail of sky-watching.

 The northern lights, or you may say aurora borealis have captivates people’s heart in a vert fascinating way. But this breathtaking presentation is actually quite powerful. So, let’s have look at some of the valuable content on aurora lightning, its quick background, and the elements behind it!

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The northern lights (aurora borealis) lights up the sky over the Gulf of Finland. (Image credit: Shutterstock)

What are the reasons behind aurora lightning?

Particles from the sun possess very intense energy. They crash into the upper atmosphere of Earth at incredible speeds, which is up to 45 million mph (72 million kph). But you will be very amazed by knowing that the magnetic field of Earth protects us from some potential risks.

The magnetic field of our planet attracts charged particles to the poles. Therefore, they crates a beautiful display in the sky that caused an interesting experience for both scientists and skywatchers.

A quick background of aurora lightning:

Galileo Galilei gave the name “aurora borealis” in 1619, but ancient cave paintings in France gave the hints about these lights even earlier.

But different cultures unfolds different stories about this aurora lightning. In one North American Inuit legend, they’re spirits playing with a walrus head, while the Vikings thought it was light bouncing off Valkyrie armor. Which is basically maidens who led warriors to the afterlife.

lime-green aurora
A lime-green aurora glows above Earth’s city lights in this view from the International Space Station. At the time this photo was taken, the space station was orbiting about 258 miles (415 kilometers) above Russia and the Ukraine. A portion of the space station’s solar array is visible in the top left corner of the image. (Image credit: NASA)

The process of “Magnetic Reconnection” in Aurora Lightning:

Auroras are those beautiful lights in the sky that, without a doubt, captivate us. Additionally, they also impress the scientists who study the Sun and space. NASA looks at auroras to learn more about space. They have done it, and still studying it to predict and prevent any problems they might cause for our technology, communication, and transportation.

The Sun sends out a constant flow of charged particles called solar wind, which travels through space. A very fascinating process of magnetic reconnection occurs when the solar wind meets Earth’s magnetic field. This magnetic reconnection process, thus has the power to speed up the particles of our space into our atmosphere and therefore add to global warming.

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The auroras are best seen during the winter, when nights are long. Hours of patience by photographer Daniele Boffelli resulted in this image that captures both clouds and auroras in the night sky. (Image credit: Daniele Boffelli)

Steven Petrinec, a physicist at the aerospace company. He has said something about this beautiful phenomenon. Additionally, Lockheed Martin who specializes in magnetospheric and heliospheric physics, says:

“One of the more challenging aspects of nightside aurorae involves the comparison of the aurora borealis with the aurora australis.”

STEVE: A different glowing atmospheric phenomenon:

Another aurora-like occurrence on Earth is STEVE (“Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement”). Like the northern and southern lights, STEVE is a glowing atmospheric phenomenon. But it looks slightly different from its undulating auroral counterparts.

Petrinec said:

“These emissions appear as a narrow and distinct arc, are typically purple in color and often include a green picket-fence structure that slowly moves westward.”

STEVE can be seen from places closer to the equator than typical auroras. In a 2019 study in the Geophysical Research Letters journal, it was discovered that STEVE happens because of two things:

  • The mauve (purple) streaks come from heating charged particles in the upper atmosphere
  • While the picket-fence pattern is caused by electrons falling into the atmosphere.

Moreover, this second process of aurora lightning is the same as many other auroras. But STEVE a unique kind of aurora.

What is the meaning of aurora lighting?

Aurora lightning are an amazing phenomenon that shimmer across the sky only in night. It happens often in lower polar regions.

How does aurora lightning occur?

Galileo Galilei was an early 1600s astronomer. Besides this, he also introduced the term of Aurora Borealis. which is basically refer to this natural occurrence. Moreover, the Aurora is Roman for dawn while Boreas refers to the north wind in Greek.

What is the aurora effect?

Particles in the atmosphere make colorful lights in the sky. Oxygen makes green and red, and nitrogen makes blue and purple. In Alaska’s winter sky, you see these green bands of light called aurora borealis.

Which country can see aurora?

Many Nordic countries are popular when it comes to the experience of aurora borealis at its best. For instance, Iceland, Norway, Sweden and Finland near the Arctic Circle offer some of the best opportunities. You might also spot it in Russia, Alaska or Canada’s northwest territories.

Can aurora generate electricity?

Auroras don’t provide much usable energy because they involve charged particles. These particles are moving through Earth’s magnetic field across a vast area. To capture and use this energy would require an impractically large device.

What elements cause aurora?

The colors in an aurora lightning come from two main gases in Earth’s atmosphere. Oxygen makes it green, and nitrogen can create shades of purple, blue, or pink during the auroras lightning.

How aurora lightning are paving a way in space science new discoveries & inventions?

Aurora Australis from Beerbarrel Beach
Aurora Australis from Beerbarrel Beach by James Stone, Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2019

Scientists study auroras from different angles: on the ground, from above, and even from within.

  • If we talk about the on the ground angles, then they utilizes different innovative telescopes and radar systems to observe lightning of auroras.
  • NASA missions like THEMIS provide an aerial perspective into aurora activity. Besides this they investigate on why aurora lightning shift from gentle waves to fast, and why they give us colorful streaks.
  • They also send sounding rockets, which quickly go into space for 5 to 20 minutes. It is because of the reason to gather data from inside auroras as they happen.
  • NASA backs a cool project called Aurorasaurus. If we talk about this project, then some regular people from all over the world help track and watch auroras. Which is obviously a very astonishing experience.
  • When scientists study auroras, it helps them understand our planet’s magnetic field better. Especially how it reacts to the weather of space near Earth.

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