Astronomy Citizen Science 

Citizen Scientists Help Solve “Aurora” Mystery

By Kasha Patel Notanee Bourassa knew that what he was seeing in the night sky was not normal. Bourassa, an IT technician in Regina, Canada, trekked outside of his home on July 25, 2016, around midnight with his two younger children to show them a beautiful moving light display in the sky — an aurora borealis. He often sky gazes until the early hours of the morning to photograph the aurora with his Nikon camera, but this was his first expedition with his children. When a thin purple ribbon of…

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Astronomy Physics 

The Science Behind Auroras

By Steven Spence (@TheStevenSpence) The northern lights (aurora borealis) and southern lights (aurora australis) are fascinating scientifically. In fact, aurora is not unique to the Earth. We have observed aurora in the upper atmosphere of Jupiter and Saturn with various spacecraft and ground-based telescopes. Solar Wind The sun constantly emits streams of particles from its atmosphere out into the solar system. This emission is referred to as the solar wind. Sometimes there are solar storms or solar flares, resulting in heavier emissions than normal. If the Earth passes through one…

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Astronomy Photos Physics Science & Art 

Photographing the Northern Lights in Iceland

By Steven Spence (@TheStevenSpence) For night’s swift dragons cut the clouds full fast, And yonder shines Aurora’s harbinger; At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there, Troop home to churchyards. — Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream Curtains of Light Across the Sky Seeing the northern lights (aurora borealis) has long been on my bucket list. In March 2018 I was fortunate enough to have a break, allowing me to travel solo for some weeks. I headed to Iceland (also on my bucket list), hoping to catch not only the northern…

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The author’s all-time favorite image of the Aurora (Photo courtesy of Antti Pietikainen, www.theaurorazone.com) Astronomy Science & Art 

Aurora Borealis: Myths, Legends, Science

By Alistair McLean Alistair McLean is the Managing Director of The Aurora Zone, a company that specializes in holidays searching for the Northern Lights. He has seen the aurora borealis more times than he can count and never fails to be enthralled by its beauty. In the late 1980’s, a group of musicians calling themselves 10,000 Maniacs penned a song called “Planned Obsolescence.” The lyrics suggested that modern advances in science and technology will render “mysticism obsolete.” I am reminded of this song pretty much every time I stand beneath…

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