Over Norwegian skies, dazzling pink auroras were photographed
Over Norwegian skies, dazzling pink auroras were photographed

Norway: A pink aurora was visible over the Norwegian city of Tromso on the night of 10 December. A magnetic substorm brought on this breathtaking aerial display.

Pink auroras differ from the more common green auroras in that they are formed when energetic space particles collide with nitrogen molecules at altitudes of 100 km or less.

As the Sun approaches the zenith of its solar cycle, solar flares and geomagnetic storms have recently become more frequent.
The Imager for NASA's Magnetopause-to-Aurora Global Exploration (Image) satellite was used to study the aurora until 2005.

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To probe the electrical circuitry underlying the aurora, the space agency recently launched the rocket-based mission ACES 2 (Aurora Current and Electrodynamic Structure 2).

Starting with the most fundamental difference: whereas magnetic storms are confined to the auroral zone, magnetic substorms occur all over the world.


They are also known as auroral substorms, and although they last only a few hours, they are more frequent.

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It is believed to be a specific interaction that occurs when the solar wind from the Sun interacts with Earth's magnetosphere.

The altitude and the types of atoms involved determine the color of the aurora.
At lower altitudes, the most common green auroras are produced when charged particles interact with oxygen; However, at higher altitudes, this results in a reddish glow.

Hydrogen and helium atoms cause the blue and violet aurora, respectively, but this region of the electromagnetic spectrum is invisible to the human eye.

Solar winds, streams of electrically charged particles coming from the Sun, combine with Earth's magnetic field to produce the aurora.
They are usually 97–1,000 km above the Earth's surface.

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Active aurorae and magnetic storms are generally benign, but sometimes they can interfere with radio and radar signals.
Powerful magnetic storms can also render communications satellites unusable.

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