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Latest Aurora Stories

ESA Finds High-Energy Particles Charged In Polar Cusps
2012-06-08 04:46:56

Data gathered by several European Space Agency (ESA) spacecraft suggests that high-energy particles which fill cavities within the Earth's magnetic field are accelerated locally within the cusps themselves as they cross through areas characterized by different electric potential, the organization announced earlier this week. In a Tuesday announcement, the ESA said that the information, which was gathered during the Cluster mission in February 2003, shows that the particles are accelerated...

Process Linked To Northern Lights Observed
2012-06-04 04:38:00

A University of Iowa researcher wants you to visualize a plate of spaghetti when you think of the northern lights. That´s because Jack Scudder, UI professor of physics and astronomy, and his colleagues have reached a milestone in describing how the northern lights work by way of a process called “magnetic reconnection.” The details are contained in a paper published in the June 5 issue of the journal Physical Review Letters; however, the process is best imagined as...

Some Sun-like Stars Put Off Superflares
2012-05-17 13:32:04

New research shows that other sun-like stars in the universe can send off flares much larger than those seen on our sun. Solar flares are the result of broken magnetic-field loops as they pass through sunspots. As these loops become twisted and contorted, the flares occur, sending enormous amounts of charged particles, energy and radiation outward. So far, the largest solar flare ever measured on our sun happened on September 1, 1859, by British astronomer Richard Carrington. He simply...

Rubber Chicken Flies Into Solar Radiation Storm
2012-04-21 06:13:25

[ Watch the Video ] Last month, when the sun unleashed the most intense radiation storm since 2003, peppering satellites with charged particles and igniting strong auroras around both poles, a group of high school students in Bishop, California, knew just what to do. They launched a rubber chicken. The students inflated a helium balloon and used it to send the fowl, named "Camilla," to an altitude of 120,000 ft where she was exposed to high-energy solar protons at point blank range....


Latest Aurora Reference Libraries

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2013-03-16 00:00:00

Hannes Olof Gösta Alfvén (May 30, 1908 - April 2, 1995) was a Swedish plasma physicist born in Norrköping, Sweden. Alfvén received his PhD from the University of Uppsala in 1934. His thesis was titled "Investigations of the Ultra-short Electromagnetic Waves." He was originally trained as an electrical power engineer and later moved on to research and teaching in the fields of plasma physics. Alfvén made many contributions to plasma physics, including theories describing the...

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2004-10-19 04:45:41

Aurora -- The Polar Aurora are natural displays of light in the sky that can be seen with the unaided eye only at night. An auroral display in the Northern Hemisphere is called the aurora borealis, or the northern lights; in the Southern Hemisphere it is called the aurora australis. Auroras are the most visible effect of the sun's activity on the earth's atmosphere. The beautiful and often eerie curtains of light in the night time sky have been observed by people for millennia. An aurora...

4_58d180de6d0f28286cf3bc85a49cb91c2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Van Allen Radiation Belt -- The Van Allen radiation belt is a torus of energetic charged particles around Earth, trapped by Earth's magnetic field. The presence of a radiation belt had been theorized prior to the Space Age and the belt's presence was confirmed by the Explorer I on January 31, 1958 and Explorer III missions, under Doctor James Van Allen. The trapped radiation was first mapped out by Explorer IV and Pioneer III. Qualitatively, it is useful to view this belt as consisting...

4_d3a853c28ff70a676427cf8e42fced4f2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Solar Wind -- Solar wind, a stream of particles (mostly high-energy protons ~ 500 Kev) that is continually ejected from the surface of the Sun. The composition of this plasma is identical to the Sun's corona, 73% hydrogen and 25% helium with the remainder as trace impurities, and is ionized. Near Earth, the velocity of the solar wind varies from 200km/s-889km/s. The average is 450 km/s. Approximately 3000 tons of material is lost from the Sun every hour as solar wind. Since solar...

4_c3e26bdabe1325e08e2593b25329604b2
2004-10-19 04:45:41

Solar Flare -- A solar flare is a violent eruption that explodes from a star's photosphere with energies equivalent to tens of millions of hydrogen bombs. Solar flares from the Sun send out a streams of highly energetic solar wind that can present a radiation hazard to spacecraft outside of planetary magnetospheres and can disrupt radio signals on Earth. Solar flares were first observed on the Sun in 1859 by English astronomer Richard Carrington. They have also been observed to...

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Word of the Day
kenspeckle
  • Having so marked an appearance as easily to be recognized.
This word may come from the Swedish 'kanspak,' quick at recognizing persons or things, or else from confusion with 'conspicuous.'