Aurora Polaris

Aurora polaris is a scientific phenomenon that occurs when the solar wind is stronger than usual, with a large electrical discharge, where winds that are electrically charged bring particles toward Earth. These particles are electrons and protons that form when the light collides with gases in Earths atmosphere. The Aurora is located at a height of between 90km and 180 km from the earths surface. The phenomenon can be observed in the night sky, incapsulated  in a belt around the magnetic poles. The Aurora emerges as an undulating light that varies in shape, color and strength.

The Aurora contains only certain specific colors, ie not all the colors of the solar spectrum. This is because the aurora is generated by radiation of different specific wavelengths of atoms and ions in the atmosphere. This takes place in connection with these atoms and ions in the atmosphere is hit by solar wind, the burst of particles from the sun. This leads to a excitation of atoms, and they emit light at specific wavelengths. The colors are mostly from excited nitrogen molecules, ions and oxygen atoms. The color of the aurora depends on how high in the atmosphere phenomenon occurs.

The first realistic description of the phenomenon was in the famous Norwegian Chronicle "Kongespeilet" circa 1230 AD. Here the author had mentioned three theories for why we see the northern lights. Later, during the period 1550-1800 it was particularly priests in Norway who wrote about the northern lights. In 1724, the first thesis which was dedicated to the auroral phenomena was written by Norwegian Jens Spideberg.

Later, several researchers tried to find out more about the strange phenomenon of northern lights. Around 1900, it became possible to explain the aurora along the lines of todays knowledge. This explanation is formed on the basis of Tromholts investigations, where he found the relationship between the aurora and sunspots, and Birkeland´s "Terrella Experiments".

The explanation focused on that the charged particles from the sun can be influenced by the Earth's magnetic field along with atmospheric gases. At that time they could not explain how the gases in the atmosphere were "lit" and how the different colors of the aurora occurred. When Dane Niels Bohr presented his model of the atom in 1913, it was possible to make such a statement. In the 1920s, they began to be able map the hight of a solar storm.

Northern Lights Research still exists in Norway and many other countries, Svalbard still partaking actively. This research has provided new information about the sun, the atmosphere and the near space. An example of a place in Norway where they research Northern Lights is, "Rakettskytefeltet" on Andøya. From the hill one can only study the northern lights from below and in contrary satellites can only study from above. But if you are using rockets like at "Rakettskytefeltet, results can be extracted from within the northern lights its self.



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