Energy source of northern lights found
Dec 11, 2007
SAN FRANCISCO - Scientists think they have discovered the energy source of the spectacular color displays seen in the northern lights. New data from NASA's Themis mission, a quintet of satellites launched this winter, found the energy comes from a stream of charged particles from the sun flowing 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 visible in the upper latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere, said principal investigator Vassilis Angelopoulos of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Results were presented Tuesday at the American Geophysical Union meeting.
In March, the satellites detected a burst of northern lights, or auroras borealis, over Alaska and Canada. During the two-hour light show, the satellites measured particle flow and magnetic fields from space.
To scientists' surprise, the geomagnetic storm powering the auroras raced 400 miles in a minute across the sky. Angelopoulos estimated the storm's power was equal to the energy released by a magnitude 5.5 earthquake.
"Nature was very kind to us," Angelopoulos said.
some power there
I saw them really strong a coupla years back,
half, fully half, the heavens were flashing from horizon to midsky, like
a giant burning fire, massive flashes were moving faster than 400 miles a second.
It was bigger and more profound than any lighting storm - a 5.5 earthquake
is wholly believable... our culture barely has tapped the incredible powers
of our universe.
Thanks for the "new " info.
I've seen them many times.
Where is Tesla when you need him?