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Posts Tagged "aurora"

Life, Unbounded

Don’t Panic, It’s Just A Solar Field Reversal!

Magnetic field lines from active solar regions are drawn over an ultraviolet light image of the Sun (SDO/NASA, K. Schrijver & A. Title, Lockheed Martin)

At any moment the great cocoon of unseen magnetic fields and particle radiation that surrounds the Earth and all other major planets is going to experience a change of polarity. More specifically, the Sun’s polar magnetic field – its magnetic north and south – is going to reverse. This flip happens at solar maximum, the [...]

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Life, Unbounded

Aurorae from Earth, Space, and on Other Worlds

Southern aurora (aurora australis) composited with NASA imagery

As we’re in the midst of experiencing some particularly stormy solar weather it seems appropriate to make a quick post with some nifty auroral images and time-lapse movies (see below). It’s also fun to point out that the phenomenon of aurorae (or auroras) is truly universal. Caused when high-velocity particles like electrons and protons expelled [...]

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Life, Unbounded

The X Factor: Solar storms and life as we know it

Aurora seen from Space Shuttle Discovery in 1991 (NASA)

Back in February 2011 the Sun underwent a so-called X class solar flare event, prompting the following Life, Unbounded post. I thought I’d bring it out to air again in light of the solar flare events happening right now, and the potential for some disruption of our Earthly activities. There are also interesting implications for [...]

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The Countdown

5 Remarkable Facts about the Northern Lights – The Countdown, Episode 39

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What causes the sky near Earth’s poles to light up with swirling, colorful light? In this episode of the Countdown, we explore the physics behind auroras and more. More to Explore: Visit LightsOverLapland.com for more images of the Northern Lights from Abisko National Park in Sweden. Aurora Forecast (NOAA) Written in the Sky: Aurora Borealis [...]

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