The Mystery Of The Aurora

1134 Words 5 Pages
From the ancient world to now, the mystery of the aurora has been the idea behind legends and myths, to the research of scientists. The aurora is a spectacular light display that dances above the Earth in the North and South poles. From dragons to dancing gods, everything has been said about it. Up until the 18th century, the aurora was feared and awed by anyone who saw the brilliant colored curtains high up in the sky. The Romans believed that the aurora were celestial caves that the dead emperors lived in after death. In Norse Mythology, it is believed that the aurora was actually a bridge to the home of the gods, Asgard. Other myths contribute the aurora as reflections from shields of Valkyrie to light the way of fallen warriors. Most of …show more content…
The continuous flow from the solar magnetic field and subatomic particles from the solar atmosphere, or corona, into the solar system, is called solar wind. The sun and its wind is constantly changing, different particles moving causes the intensity of the solar wind’s magnetic field to increase when the sun is more active. High-energy solar events, such as solar flares and coronal mass ejections. This means that the sun’s outer atmosphere explodes and produces a mass amount of solar wind. It takes about 2 to 4 days for the solar wind to reach Earth. When these particles and wind strike the magnetosphere it causes something similar to a shock wave and huge amounts of energy is released into the magnetosphere causing huge auroras. However, the aurora shows up in the sky, because of things that aren’t visible to the naked eye. The Earth has the atmosphere which is composed of a mixture of several gases, mostly nitrogen and oxygen, with some traces of hydrogen, helium, and various others. There is a magnetic field that surrounds Earth that is not visible. The Earth’s magnet is deep in the core. Since these magnetic fields are impossible to see, scientists draw lines to represent it. The lines go and out of the Earth around the magnetic poles, the strongest of the magnetic fields is located around the north and south pole. Finally, the third invisible force around the Earth is plasma, which is a gas composed of energetic electrons and …show more content…
It makes them a unique wonder, all of the changing and shifting colors. Streetlights and neon signs act similarly to the aurora both on a molecular level and to the naked eye. The aurora is created by fast-moving electrons that collide with gas to energize it and it emits light. However, the light it emits is dependent on what type of gas is used. The light the gas emits is like a fingerprint, and no two gases are the same. The unique coloring is determined by the height at which most collisions take place and the spectra of gases in the Earth’s atmosphere. High up in the ionosphere, about 300 km the most common atom is oxygen, and creates a rare red aurora. This strong yellow-to-green light that is most common is produced by oxygen at lower levels of the ionosphere about 100 and 300 km. Around 100 km, nitrogen molecules produce a red light that is on the lower edges of the aurora. Gases that are higher in the ionosphere, but lighter than oxygen and nitrogen, such as hydrogen and helium make colors like blue and purple. Sometimes these cannot be seen by the naked eye, and photographs can reveal those colors. Human eyes see best in the green-yellow-orange part of the spectrum, where the sun emits most

Related Documents