A study of the aurora borealis

Home Aurora Borealis Prizes Aurora Borealis Prizes Each year the Society honors graduate student contributions to our conference by awarding two student presenters the Aurora Borealis Prize for the best oral paper presentations, one in the category of History and Social Science, and one in Arts and Humanities. Because the prize is specifically designed to recognize excellence in presentation as well as writing and research, nominations must be made selectively and only by those who actually hear the delivery of the paper.

A study of the aurora borealis

Furthermore, he argued that the arc of the aurora did not point towards the geographic pole, but rather toward the magnetic pole, which is in a different location. The latter finding was correct and an important finding.

To prove his theory, which is still valid today, he built his own world in a glass box, electrified his model Earth with its own magnetic field and showed how particles from the Sun could ignite auroras.

The photo is courtesy of the University of Oslo. A study of the aurora borealis, his experiment and many facts about the northern lights are pictured on the Norwegian kr bill. When particles and magnetic fields from the Sun reach Earth, something strange happens.

A study of the aurora borealis

This illustration is courtesy of T. The magnetic fields couple together and disturb the magnetosphere.

So what was it probing?

These collisions usually take place between 80— km above ground. Here they cause oxygen and nitrogen atoms to become excited and to emit light in much the same ways as in fluorescent lights or in advertising neon signs.

Modern Observations and Measurements Today we study the northern lights from both the ground and space. A large number of all-sky cameras and instruments are used to study the phenomenon from many northern countries.

Also on Svalbard sits the new Kjell Henriksen Observatory, opened in and the largest aurora observatory of its kind, with 30 dome-topped instrument rooms. Here, scientists around the world can remotely operate their instruments from their home institution.

What makes Svalbard so special is its location, right under the northern polar cusp. Sounding rockets are also used to study the aurora. And from even higher up, satellites provide a global view of the auroral oval, the ring of light circling each geomagnetic pole.

The northern lights are impressive and different from all other light phenomena in that they exhibit an amazing variety of colours, structures, and movements. Auroras are present within a zone of about 1, to 3, km from the magnetic poles, both day and night during the entire year.

However, auroras are only visible from the ground during clear, dark nights. Daylight will outshine the auroras. If you are travelling north in quest of the auroras, your best option will be to travel to the area around the aurora zone — a ring-shaped band where the chances of seeing the northern lights are highest see image courtesy of NASA right.

The aurora zone stretches across the northern part of Scandinavia Norway, Sweden, and Finlandover to Siberia in northern Russia, and then across Alaska and the northernmost parts of Canada, and further across southern Greenland and Iceland. It is in these places that you have the best chances of seeing auroras, and the best time period to go is between mid-September and mid-March.

Many of these areas are quite inaccessible to travellers due to lack of transport and have very low temperatures. North Norway has easy access, well developed infrastructure for tourists and a fairly mild climate. Furthermore, you will most likely see the northern lights every clear night.

If there is a gust in the solar wind — or a strong solar storm — the northern lights will extend further south. Sometimes the aurora can be seen even further south in Europe or the southern states in USA.

By monitoring the activity on the Sun every day scientists can predict the strength and the location of the aurora. Thus, by using the Internet you can find web pages that provide aurora forecasting.

UNIS forecaster indicates where the aurora oval is located right now: He is also an adjunct professor at the University Centre at Svalbard.

Alaskan launch

This is perhaps not so strange since I walked my first steps at the solar observatory at Harestua, just north of Oslo. My dad worked there then. I became fascinated by how dynamic the Sun is, how it has fascinated humans for thousands of years, and how it affects our technological society.

A study of the aurora borealis

During my studies at the University in Oslo, my advisors inspired me to spend time doing public outreach. So it was my interest for sharing knowledge about the mysteries of the Sun that led to my writing two books.

The Sun is a perfect entrance to natural science, since it affects the Earth and humans in so many ways. Solar physics interacts with many other scientific fields, such as physics, chemistry, biology, and meteorology to mention a few.The aurora borealis also known as the northern lights creates a spectacular light show in the sky.

Some ancient cultures believed the phenomenon to be spirits rising to the afterlife, while others.

Rocket into Northern Lights studies the "Invisible Aurora's" electric currents

The aurora borealis also known as the northern lights creates a spectacular light show in the sky. Some ancient cultures believed the phenomenon to be spirits rising to the afterlife, while others saw omens of victory in battle. Science of the Northern Lights Aurora Borealis by Pål Brekke Sir Edmund Halley suggested the aurora was caused by magnetic liquid evaporating from pores in the polar region and moving up in the atmosphere along the .

An expedition called Project Aether: Aurora is launching weather balloons to the edge of Alaska's auroras, in an effort to learn more about the dazzling phenomenon and help get kids interested in.

These lights in the sky, known as the Aurora Borealis or ''Northern Lights'', are commonly seen by people living in regions near the arctic, including Canada, Norway, Finland, Sweden, and Alaska.

The Aurora Borealis over Yellowstone National Park. An aurora (plural: auroras or aurorae), sometimes referred to as polar lights, northern lights (aurora borealis) or southern lights (aurora australis), is a natural light display in the Earth's sky, predominantly seen in the high-latitude regions (around the Arctic and Antarctic).

The Mystery of Auroras | NASA