Saturday, February 23, 2008

Ever See The Northern Lights ? Now You Have..



All Together..... Oooh... Aaahh !!

No, it's not smoke - it's the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis. I doubt that they're ever made it to South Carolina, so I thought I'd bring them to you.

What exactly are they? Simple. Auroras are produced by the collision of charged particles, mostly electrons but also protons and heavier particles, from the magnetosphere, with atoms and molecules of the Earth's upper atmosphere (at altitudes above 80 km). The particles have energies from 1-100 keV. Most originate from the sun and arrive at the vicinity of earth in the relatively low-energy solar wind. When the trapped magnetic field of the solar wind is favourably oriented (principally southwards) it reconnects with that of the earth and solar particles then enter the magnetosphere and are swept to the magnetotail. Further magnetic reconnection accelerates the particles towards earth. Got it? At least that's what Wikipedia says they are....





Back to the pics...





Oooooh..........





Ahhhhh..........










Hmmmm......





Pretty nice, eh? If you want to see some live, my best suggestion is to go anywhere between Upstate New York and the Arctic Circle and just look up.


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2 comments:

west_rhino said...

spaceweather.com has a fine gallery and forecasts for auroras...

Still in the Big Apple Moye said...

I make the trip to Alaska once a year with Sumter to view. Mostly Winter and when the nights are long. They are disappering in North America by the way. I also can hear them. Most Scientist say you cannot and most people cannot hear them. Go to Talkeetna, Alaska for some great viewing from time to time. They are not as frequent as most people suggest.