Jul 16

Hubble captures vivid auroras in Jupiter’s atmospher

Source: ESA/Hubble Photo Release heic1613

heic1613aAuroras on Jupiter.
Image credits: NASA, ESA.

Astronomers are using the NASA/ESA Hubble Space Telescope to study auroras — stunning light shows in a planet’s atmosphere — on the poles of the largest planet in the Solar System, Jupiter. This observation programme is supported by measurements made by NASA’s Juno spacecraft, currently on its way to Jupiter. (learn more)

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Mar 12

Solar Storm Dumps Gigawatts into Earth's Upper Atmosphere

Source: NASA Science Casts


A flurry of solar activity in early March dumped enough heat in Earth's upper atmosphere to power every residence in New York City for two years. The heat has since dissipated, but there's more to come as the solar cycle intensifies.

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Mar 12

It's time for Aurora Borealis

An aurora borealis swirls in the sky over
the Yukon River village of Ruby, Alaska.
Image credits: Associated Press.

This is the season of Aurora Borelis (Northern Lights). The image above was taken on March 11, 2012.

As you may suspect, the best place to see the Aurora Borealis is from high latitudes up north. More specifically, anywhere you can get to that's within 2500km  from the North Pole. That includes a number of countries, like Finland, Norway, Sweden, Russia, Canada, Greenland and USA (only Alaska). All these countries have regions that fall into this region. The northern areas of all these countries is where you'll want to be.

The phenomena called aurora is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere). The charged particles originate in the magnetosphere and solar wind and, on Earth, are directed by the Earth's magnetic field into the poles atmosphere.

Since the charged particles are directed by Earth's magnetic field lines you can actually see the Northern Lights from the South Pole. So, why don't they call it the Southern Lights?

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Dec 09

Colliding Auroras Produce Explosions of Light

Source: NASA


A continent-wide network of all-sky cameras has photographed a never-before-seen phenomenon: colliding auroras that produce explosions of light. The must-see images have solved a long-standing mystery of Northern Lights. (read more)

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