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Aurora Glow Observed Above Iceland

Aurora Glow Observed Above Iceland:

Stunning aurora glow was recently observed above Iceland after a ‘dead’ sunspot erupted.

  • An Aurora is a display of light in the sky predominantly seen in the high latitude regions (Arctic and Antarctic). It is also known as a Polar light.
  • There are two types- the aurora borealis and aurora australis – often called the northern lights and southern lights.
  • They commonly occur at high northern and southern latitudes, less frequent at mid-latitudes, and seldom seen near the equator.
  • While usually a milky greenish color, auroras can also show red, blue, violet, pink, and white.
  • These colors appear in a variety of continuously changing shapes.
  • Auroras are a spectacular sign that our planet is electrically connected to the Sun.
  • These light shows are provoked by energy from the Sun and fueled by electrically charged particles trapped in Earth’s magnetic field.
  • The typical aurora is caused by collisions between fast-moving electrons from space with the oxygen and nitrogen in Earth’s upper atmosphere.
  • The electrons—which come from the Earth’s magnetosphere, the region of space controlled by Earth’s magnetic field —transfer their energy to the oxygen and nitrogen atoms and molecules, making them “excited”.
  • As the gases return to their normal state, they emit photons, small bursts of energy in the form of light.
  • When a large number of electrons come from the magnetosphere to bombard the atmosphere, the oxygen and nitrogen can emit enough light for the eye to detect, giving us beautiful auroral displays.
  • They origin at altitudes of 100 to more than 400 km.
  • The color of the aurora depends on which gas — oxygen or nitrogen — is being excited by the electrons, and on how excited it becomes.
  • The color also depends upon how fast the electrons are moving, or how much energy they have at the time of their collisions.
  • High energy electrons cause oxygen to emit green light (the most familiar color of the aurora), while low energy electrons cause a red light. Nitrogen generally gives off a blue light.
  • The blending of these colors can also lead to purples, pinks, and whites.
  • The oxygen and nitrogen also emit ultraviolet light, which can be detected by special cameras on satellites.