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Aurora borealis
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NASA Satellites Discover What Powers Northern Lights
Researchers using a fleet of five NASA satellites have discovered that explosions of magnetic energy a third of the way to the moon power substorms that cause sudden brightenings and rapid movements of the aurora borealis, called the Northern Lights.
The culprit turns out to be magnetic reconnection, a common process that occurs throughout the universe when stressed magnetic field lines suddenly snap to a new shape, like a rubber band that's been stretched too far.

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An international team of scientists has detected that some of the glow of Earths aurora is polarized, an unexpected state for such emissions. Measurements of this newfound polarization in the Northern Lights may provide scientists with fresh insights into the composition of Earths upper atmosphere, the configuration of its magnetic field, and the energies of particles from the Sun, the researchers say.

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Une équipe internationale1 conduite par un chercheur du CNRS appartenant au Laboratoire de Planétologie de Grenoble (LPG : INSU CNRS Université Joseph Fourier) vient dobserver pour la première fois un phénomène de polarisation de la lumière provenant de la haute atmosphère boréale. Ces observations, réalisées dans la zone aurorale, sur lîle de Svalbard en Norvège, ouvrent de nouvelles perspectives : analyse fine de la structure atomique de loxygène, détermination des variations de la concentration de latmosphère en fonction de lactivité solaire, analyse du comportement du champ magnétique interplanétaire autour de Vénus et Mars,
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Une équipe internationale(1) conduite par un chercheur du CNRS appartenant au LPG (INSU - CNRS - Université Joseph Fourier) vient d'observer pour la première fois un phénomène de polarisation de la lumière provenant de la haute atmosphère boréale. Ces observations, réalisées dans la zone aurorale, sur l'île de Svalbard en Norvège, ouvrent de nouvelles perspectives : analyse fine de la structure atomique de l'oxygène, détermination des variations de la concentration de l'atmosphère en fonction de l'activité solaire, analyse du comportement du champ magnétique interplanétaire autour de Vénus et Mars, ...
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Scientists claim to have discovered the energy source behind the Northern Lights - vast, magnetic solar-energy channelling ropes linking the Earth's atmosphere to the sun.
New data from Nasa satellites shows the spectacular colour displays of auroras borealis are due to a stream of charged particles that flow like a current through twisted bundles of magnetic fields connecting Earth's upper atmosphere to the sun.
The energy is then abruptly released in the form of a shimmering display of lights, Vassilis Angelopoulos, of the University of California at Los Angeles and the mission's lead investigator, told the American Geophysical Union's annual meeting.

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Northern Lights
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RE: Geomagnetic storms
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Our ancient ancestors believed the Northern Lights were variously the reflections of dead maidens, the spirits of the dead, swans caught in ice, a terrifying force which killed those who mocked it and an omen of war or disaster.
In reality, the displays are caused when solar particles enter the Earth's atmosphere emitting burning gases which create the light. The colours are created by the different gases. The scientific term for the lights is the aurora borealis (named after the Roman goddess of the dawn). A similar spectacle in the southern hemisphere is known as the aurora australis.

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Current geomagnetic activity recorded near Aberdeen:



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Northern lights - Aurora borealis
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