Here, we will know some facts about aurora borealis and australis. The facts about aurora borealis and australis include reason behind these display, their location and much more.
INTRODUCTORY FACTS ABOUT AURORA BOREALIS AND AUSTRALIS
Aurora displays of lights are one of the mesmerising displays of light by nature. One of the facts we already know about the auroral lights is that they are known as the northern lights in the north. And the southern lights in the southern hemisphere. More technically stated as the aurora borealis and the aurora australis. But, there is much more we should know about these wonderful displays of light. Whether it is aurora borealis or aurora australis, they have some facts associated with them, which are presented below.
FACTS ABOUT AURORA BOREALIS AND AUSTRALIS: WHERE TO SEEK FOR THEM?
Aurora Borealis occur particularly along the ring-shaped regions around the north and south geomagnetic poles.
For example, Yellowknife, Canada, Fairbanks, Alaska, Lapland and Norway are very good place for watching the aurora borealis. This is because the northern lights are under the ring shaped region in the northern hemisphere.
FACTS ABOUT AURORA BOREALIS AND AUSTRALIS: THEIR SHAPE
Aurora, in particular, has a curtain-like shape.
FACTS ABOUT AURORA BOREALIS AND AUSTRALIS: REASON BEHIND FORMATION
- The altitude of its lower edge is sixty or seventy miles.
This is about ten times higher than the range a jet aircraft flies.
- This mysterious phenomenon of the display of the various coloured lights in the sky arises from the events on the sun.
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- Massive solar flares often blast streams of charged particles towards the earth. They are directed by the earth’s magnetic field. Then they collide with atoms in the atmosphere. It is these collisions which generate the beautiful lights which are observed as the Aurora.
- The various patterns and shapes of these aurora are determined by the changing flow of charged particles and the varying magnetic fields.
- Auroral displays of light indicate that the ionosphere and our protective atmosphere are being energized by the electric power generated in the magnetosphere.
FACTS ABOUT AURORA BOREALIS AND AUSTRALIS: SIMILARITY
It would be interesting to state as a fact that aurora is very similar to colour television images.
As for television, in the picture tube, a beam of electrons controlled by electric and magnetic fields strikes the screen, making it glow in different colours. Here, the variation of colour is done with the substance present in the screen.
FACTS ABOUT AURORA BOREALIS AND AUSTRALIS: DIFFERENT COLORS
Whereas, the Aurora colour depends on the type of atoms and molecules struck by the energetic particles.
These are particularly electrons that rain down along earth’s magnetic field lines. Each atmospheric gas glows with its specific colour. This depending on whether it is ionized or neutral. It also depends on the energy of the particle hitting the atoms and air molecules.
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- There are two gases Oxygen and Nitrogen which mostly constitute the atmosphere. Thus the aurora displays, both the borealis and australis are caused by them.
- One of the most prominent aurora colours is the brilliant yellow-green which is produced by oxygen atoms.
- The comparatively rare red aurora is produced by the oxygen atoms present in very high altitudes.
- Ionized nitrogen molecules produce blue light.
- The neutral nitrogen molecules create purplish-red coloured aurora.
FACTS ABOUT AURORA BOREALIS AND AUSTRALIS: VARYING INTENSITY
The intensity of aurora may vary from night to night. It may also even vary from an hour to another. The best viewing is usually from late evening through the early morning hours.
FACTS ABOUT AURORA BOREALIS AND AUSTRALIS: THEIR EFFECTS
The magnetosphere of the earth protects us from direct effects of the solar wind.
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- Auroras can seriously disrupt radio communications and radio navigation systems. This is because they are produced as a result of the electrical and magnetic interactions.
- Some defence-related radar systems and power transmission lines may also get disrupted.
- Current created by changing magnetic fields accompanying aurora causes corrosion in pipes. A dreadful example may include the trans-Alaska pipeline in the United States.
FACTS ABOUT AURORA BOREALIS AND AUSTRALIS: DIFFERENT SHAPES
The shape of aurora can be anything like curtains, ruffles, bow, band, whirlpool or even corona. There are never two auroras of the same colour and shape!
In this article, I have presented some of the interesting facts about aurora. Let me know more about the related facts, if I have missed any. The comment section is all there for the readers.