NASA satellite shows the aurora borealis in an unusual light: fantastic photos

By TravelWiseJan 27, 2024 23:33 PMNews
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The aurora borealis
The aurora borealis. Source: Freepik

A new NASA satellite has shown the aurora borealis, which is usually characterized by green hues, in gray tones.

The VIIRS sensor on the NOAA-NASA Suomi NPP satellite, which captures images in the visible and infrared bands, captured the aurora over Western Canada on November 5, 2023, Space reports.

NASA satellite shows the aurora borealis in an unusual light: fantastic photos
The aurora borealis in light colors. Source: NASA/Lauren Dauphin and Wanmei Liang; NOAA

"The aurorae are colorful streaks of light in the night sky triggered by a strong geomagnetic storm in the Earth's magnetosphere," NASA explains.

Repeated coronal mass ejections from the Sun cause a surge of charged particles. After colliding with the Earth's magnetosphere, some particles captured by the magnetic field enter the upper layers of the Earth's atmosphere at an increased speed. There, they excite nitrogen and oxygen molecules and emit photons of light - this is the aurora.

Auroras are usually green in color, but can also be red, blue, purple, pink, and white. They are most often seen in high-latitude regions around the Arctic and in the Antarctic.

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