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You are browsing the archive for aurora Archives - AGU Blogosphere.

14 October 2021

Red aurora rare enough to be special

Green auroras occur at about 60 miles above Earth. Pure red auroras are much higher, from about 200 to 300 miles up, which allows people closer to the equator to see them. An important gas remaining at that altitude is oxygen, and electrons that excite the oxygen atoms there produce a red light as pure as a laser.

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24 December 2020

Top AGU news and views from 2020

As we look back on 2020, we wanted to share some of the top news and views coming out of AGU.

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7 April 2020

Scientists propose explanation for night sky glow of STEVE (video)

Researchers have just published a theory of what powers the celestial phenomenon known as STEVE, the aurora-like glow amateur sky-watchers brought to scientists’ attention in 2016. Scientists first thought STEVE was a new kind of aurora, but previous research shows its light is not produced the same way. Researchers are still unsure of what generates STEVE’s light, but a group of space physicists now suspect STEVE lights up when fast-flowing rivers of plasma jumpstart certain chemical reactions high in the atmosphere.

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30 January 2020

Rocket on the chilled rail at Poker Flat

In cold, dry, subarctic air, a rocket taller than a house tilts northward, awaiting the moment when a person inside a nearby concrete building pushes a button. The ink-black Chatanika River valley will then flash white, and erupt with a clap of thunder.

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14 January 2020

Final images from Cassini spacecraft

For the last leg of its journey, Cassini was put on a particularly daring orbit passing between Saturn and its rings which brought it closer to Saturn than ever before. This allowed scientists to obtain images of Saturn’s ultraviolet auroras in unprecedented resolution. The new observations are detailed in two new studies published in the AGU journals.

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12 December 2019

Newfound Martian Aurora Actually the Most Common; Sheds Light on Mars’ Changing Climate

A type of Martian aurora first identified by NASA’s MAVEN spacecraft in 2016 is actually the most common form of aurora occurring on the Red Planet, according to new results from the mission. The aurora is known as a proton aurora and can help scientists track water loss from Mars’ atmosphere.

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27 August 2019

Streaks in Aurora Found to Map Features in Earth’s Radiation Environment

A special kind of streaked aurora has been found to track disturbances in near-Earth space from the ground. Known as structured diffuse aurora, it was recently discovered, with the help of NASA spacecraft and instruments, that these faint lights in the night sky can map the edges of the Van Allen radiation belts — hazardous concentric bands of charged particles encircling Earth.

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21 June 2019

Northern lights’ social networking reveals true scale of magnetic storms

Magnetic disturbances caused by phenomena like the northern lights can be tracked by a ‘social network’ of ground-based instruments, according to a new study from the University of Warwick.

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23 April 2019

Aurora create speed bumps in space

A new study finds a type of high-altitude aurora are responsible, at least in part, for moving pockets of air high into the atmosphere where they can cause drag on passing satellites.

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18 July 2018

Way back when, artist believed Alaska was a good deal

“How shall I, in few words, describe this immense stream, one that our men were wont to compare with the Mississippi! At Nulato, which is 600 miles above its mouth, it is, from bank to bank, one mile and a quarter wide …

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1 May 2018

Old data, new tricks: Fresh results from NASA’s Galileo spacecraft 20 years on

Far across the solar system, from where Earth appears merely as a pale blue dot, NASA’s Galileo spacecraft spent eight years orbiting Jupiter. During that time, the hearty spacecraft — slightly larger than a full-grown giraffe — sent back spates of discoveries on the gas giant’s moons, including the observation of a magnetic environment around Ganymede that was distinct from Jupiter’s own magnetic field. The mission ended in 2003, but newly resurrected data from Galileo’s first flyby of Ganymede is yielding new insights about the moon’s environment — which is unlike any other in the solar system.

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20 February 2018

Found: “Footprint” of Jupiter’s moon Callisto

The elusive “footprint” of Jupiter’s moon Callisto has been spotted for the first time near the south pole of the giant planet, according to a new study.

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16 February 2018

Space weather: havoc caused by the sun

Space weather affects snowplow drivers carving through Thompson Pass in a whiteout, Iowa farmers dropping seeds of corn, and wedding planners who release white doves during the ceremony. These and other customers subscribe to daily forecasts from the NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center in Boulder, Colorado.

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1 December 2017

Pioneer scientist determined aurora height over Alaska

“Professor Fuller Drops Dead in Garden.” So reads the headline in the Farthest-North Collegian newspaper of June 1, 1935.

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15 September 2017

Turning on the aurora switch with HAARP

People travel north from all over for a chance to see the aurora. Soon, Chris Fallen will make his own.

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8 September 2017

NOW! Update #3: Solar storm sparks aurora, disturbs GPS and HAM radio

This evening Earth was slammed by a blast of high-energy particles that erupted from a monster solar flare on Wednesday. Scott Sutherland shared the moment on Twitter…

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17 February 2017

Cold War inspired first launch from Poker Flat

When they launch, the four rockets now pointed northward from Poker Flat Research Range will add to the 345 that have arced over northern Alaska during the past 48 years. Recently, Chuck Deehr remembered number one.

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13 October 2016

Geomagnetic Storm May Bring Aurora Into the U.S. Tonight.

A fairly strong geomagnetic storm has produced some amazing aurora pics across Greenland and Norway in the last few hours, and there is a decent chance that the northern lights may reach as far as northern Pennsylvania late tonight. A large high pressure system is bringing clear skies and exceptionally good visibility to the Great Lakes, and NE U.S. tonight, so conditions will be good, IF the storm is strong …

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10 October 2016

Pondering the infinite in Yukon Flats

An observer once said Yukon Flats looks like a place where God forgot to put something.

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22 June 2015

Severe Geomagnetic Storm Underway

Update 7:25 PM US EDT: Scott Kelly on the ISS is seeing what he calls the best display he has ever seen from orbit of the aurora: The Kp index is currently at 8 and if that holds, we could see the Northern Lights over the northern half of the U.S. tonight. Europe should be seeing them now, but because we are at the solstice the light lingers at high …

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