Science is the poetry of Nature.

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Posts tagged "Aurora"


Northern Lights Big Style by Göran Strand

On Thursday 27 of February we had a fantastic aurora here in Östersund with lots of red colors.

I took the opportunity to make my biggest panoramic image so far. The image below consists of 23 separate images with a 360 degree coverage from the horizon and all the way up to zenith.

The original image has a resolution of 25,000 x 14,000 pixels at 300 dpi and with a 16 bit color depth.


Night Sky Transforming by Shingo Takei

In a clear January night of suburb Fairbanks in Alaska, the mystic lights of aurora arc across the north sky. As noted by the photographer "While the sky was dominated by the dancing northern lights I heard the wolf howls nearby. It was not one. I heard it from every direction. It was a signal of breakup."

Dancing Lights by Babak A. Tafreshi


Aurora Crown

Northern lights in Finland. Aurora is a natural colored light display in the sky, particularly in the polar zone, which is produced by the collision of charged particles from Earth's magnetosphere, mostly electrons but also protons and heavier particles, with atoms and molecules of Earth's atmosphere (at altitudes above 80 km).

The particles originate from the Sun and reach the Earth in the stream of solar wind. - Pekka Parviainen


The color of the Aurora depends on the altitude and the atom being struck by solar radiation (causing excitation). At higher altitudes, there is more Atomic Oxygen than Nitrogen, leading to the common color stratifications you see.

500-200 km altitude
— Atomic Oxygen — Red
200-100 km
— Atomic Oxygen — Greenish-Yellow
— Ionized Nitrogen — Blue/Purple
100-80 km
— Nitrogen (N2) — Crimson

Oxygen only emits red at higher altitudes because once it’s excited, it takes a longer time to emit red than it does green. Why is that important? Well, at lower altitudes there is more Nitrogen for the Oxygen to bump into and absorb that excitation-energy before it gets a chance to emit red light. In this case, where the collision occurs, the Oxygen will emit Green and at low enough altitudes the Nitrogen-Oxygen collisions eventually prevent Oxygen from emitting any light at all.

During stronger storms, high energy solar particles will reach lower in the atmosphere and cause the Crimson emission from Nitrogen, creating a deep-red band at the lower edge of the aurora. Other elements emit light too, like Hydrogen (Blue) or Helium (Purple) which are at higher altitudes.

Sources and further reading:
ExploratoriumWindow2UniverseWikiGif source

(via kenobi-wan-obi)

Northern Lights by Michel Favret


Curtians of Heaven

Colorful lights of Aurora Borealis appears over Lapland, northern Sweden.

Aurora is produced by the collision of high-energy charged particles, originated from the sun, with atoms and molecules of Earth's atmosphere (at altitudes above 80 km).

The vivid green and purple auroral colors are caused by high atmospheric oxygen and hydrogen reacting to a burst of incoming electrons. Babak Tafreshi


Nel’s Bight Dancing Aurora by Burke Turkey


Meteor and Aurora Bow

During the Perseid Meteor Shower in August a bright meteor and an arc of aurora borealis is captured over Sweden, near Stockholm. Stars of the Big Dipper (prominent asterism in Ursa Major) appear near the top. - P-M Heden


Planet aurora astro-bubble

How fun is this?! “Here’s a panoramic image from the aurora on October 14,” wrote Swedish astrophotographer Göran Strand. “I’ve made a small world trapped inside a bubble floating in space. And a lonely photographer is trying to capture the ongoing aurora with his camera.”

Image credit and copyright: Göran Strand


Manitoba Aurora and Meteor

The photo above showing pale green northern lights pierced by a brilliant meteor was captured at the Grassy Narrows Marsh of Hecla/Grindstone Provincial Park in Manitoba, Canada on the night of August 28, 2013.

The northern lights (auroras) and meteors (shooting stars) are observed at somewhat similar altitudes; about 50-150 mi (80-240 km) and 35-70 miles (55-115 km) above the Earth’s surface, respectively. Auroras glow when the solar wind’s energized particles collide with atoms and molecules in the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

Shooting stars, however, owe their visibility primarily to ram pressure — the heating of the shock wave generated by compression of air ahead of meteoroids the size of sand or pebbles entering the Earth’s atmosphere.


Southern Lights

This was taken 11 hours later after impact from CME (Coronal Mass Ejection). The impact time was PM2:30 NZST. - Minoru Yoneto


Aurora in central South Dakota on 10-1-13 - Dakotalapse


Aurora Deck

Aboard the famous Hurtigruten cruise between the coast of southern Norway and the far north, the TWAN photographer was waiting for a clear night and high solar activity to capture aurora borealis over the Norwegian Sea in the Atlantic Ocean. - Kwon O Chul

Spectacular Saturn Aurora

The dancing light of the auroras on Saturn behaves differently from how scientists had thought possible.

By choreographing the instruments aboard the Earth-orbiting Hubble Space Telescope and the Cassini spacecraft, while it was enroute to Saturn, to look at Saturn’s southern polar region, scientists found in 2005 that the planet’s auroras, long thought of as a cross between those of Earth and Jupiter, are fundamentally unlike those observed on either of the other two planets. The ruby-colored lights that occasionally paint the sky over Saturn may, in fact, be a phenomenon unique within our solar system.

Hubble snapped ultraviolet pictures of Saturn’s auroras over several weeks and Cassini recorded radio emissions from the same regions while measuring the solar wind, a stream of charged particles that trigger auroras. Those sets of measurements were combined to yield the a glimpse of Saturn’s auroras.

The observations showed that Saturn’s auroras differ in character from day to day, as they do on Earth, moving around on some days and remaining stationary on others. But compared with Earth, where auroras last only about 10 minutes, Saturn’s auroras can last for days.