Tuesday, April 05, 2022

The American Aurora Collection

The American Aurora Collection 

Named for the Roman goddess of dawn, the aurora is a captivating display of light in the night sky. The aurora borealis and aurora australis—also called the northern lights and southern lights—occur at the northern and southern poles. Occasionally, space weather interacting with Earth can cause auroras to extend even further away from the poles. These colorful lights are constantly changing shape and intensity, from dim and scattered to bright enough to read by.

Favorable conditions for aurora: "In March 2022, our Sun produced 146 solar flares, including one X-flare and 13 M-flares. Auroras were sighted as far south as Colorado (+38N) and Nebraska (+42N) in the United States. Multiple shortwave radio blackouts disrupted communications on ships at sea and airplanes flying over the poles. If current trends continue, April will be even busier. Stay tuned."

Photographer: Rocky Raybell (04-01-22) | Keller, Washington (State)

Photographer: Judit Fabian (03-30-22) Steamboat Rock State Park, Washington (State)

Photographer: Kevin Palmer (03-30-22) | Decker, Montana

Solid Colored Aurora
Green is common at the upper latitudes, while red is rare. On the other hand, aurora viewed from lower latitudes tend to be red.

Element Emission Colors
Oxygen: The big player in the aurora is oxygen. Oxygen is responsible for the vivid green (wavelength of 557.7 nm) and also for a deep brownish-red (wavelength of 630.0 nm). Pure green and greenish-yellow aurorae result from the excitation of oxygen.

Nitrogen: Nitrogen emits blue (multiple wavelengths) and red light.

Other Gases: Other gases in the atmosphere become excited and emit light, although the wavelengths may be outside of the range of human vision or else too faint to see. Hydrogen and helium, for example, emit blue and purple. Although our eyes cannot see all of these colors, photographic film and digital cameras often record a broader range of hues.

Aurora Colors According to Altitude
Above 150 miles: red, oxygen
Up to 150 miles: green, oxygen
Above 60 miles: purple or violet, nitrogen
Up to 60 miles: blue, nitrogen

Learn more: 

The Colors of the Aurora (National Park Service)
NASA - About Aurora

Story Credit: NASA 
March 2022 Update: Thanks to SpaceWeather.com

#NASA #Space #Astronomy #Science #Earth #Planet #Atmosphere #Aurora #AuroraBorealis #NorthernLights #MagneticField #Magnetosphere #SolarWind #Sun #Washington #Montana #UnitedStates #Photography #Astrophotography #STEM #Education

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