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Aurora Borealis- Wonder of the Universe

By Kendra Johnson

Carolyn Johnson

on 11 January 2013

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Transcript of Aurora Borealis- Wonder of the Universe

photo credit Nasa / Goddard Space Flight Center / Reto Stöckli By Kendra Johnson The Aurora Borealis- Wonder of the Universe What is the Aurora Borealis? What are those moving, shimmering streaks of color in the night sky? What causes them? What kind of magic can possibly create such wonders? These questions have been asked for millenia... but only today can we have the answer.
The Aurora Borealis, AKA the Aurora Australis is commonly called the Northern Lights (in the Northern Hemishpere), or the Southern Lights (in the Southern Hemishpere. They can be seen all the way from the Thermosphere, which is from about 56 miles to between 311 and 621 miles above our planet, but it usually occurs from 35 to 600 miles above us. (Cue for a "WOW.") More will be explained in the next slide. A BRIEF history on the Aurora Borealis part 2 Countless cultures have referred to as a kind of heaven or place for the dead, probably because, one, it was up it the sky, two, it DOES have a kind of unearthly beauty of it, and three, they had absolutely no idea of what it could possibly be.
In fact, it wasn't until 1706 that someone finally got extremely close to the truth. Sir Edmund Halley, though regrettably, at 60 years of age, he had never seen the Aurora Borealis in real life, suggested in that year that, "auroral rays are due to the particles, which are effected by the magnetic field; the rays are parallel to the earth's magnetic field." Things you should know: - The name Aurora Borealis was inspired by the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora (the equivalent of the Greek Eos), and the Greek god of the north wind, Boreas.
- The Aurora Borealis occurs most often at equinoxes because the sun is at a more direct angle to the earth, and, using what we learned earlier, the means more solar particles, thus the Aurora Borealis is most seen than any other part of the year, and more extravagant.
- The Norse were the first to name the Aurora Borealis the "Northern Lights." A BRIEF history on humankind's fascination with the Aurora Borealis Humankind has been fascinated by this bizzare, beautiful occurrence since we have first seen it. As Julius von Payer wrote: "No pencils can draw it, no colors can paint it, and no words can describe it in all its brilliance."
In fact, in ancient times, the Aurora Borealis was so impressive that most were frightened by it, believing it to be a vengeful force. Some parents wouldn't even let their children play outside while the phenomenon was happening for fear they would be killed. Others said that they would be fine, as long as they wore hats so that their hair wouldn't burn off. Cool Video with cool music How is the Aurora Borealis formed? The Aurora Borealis is formed when very fast elctrons and protons from the sun get stuck in the Van Allen radiation belts, which are two belts of radiation 400 to 40,000 miles above earth. They are then channeled to the polar region of the world by the Earth's magnetic field.
As for the beautiful colors of the Aurora Borealis? They are caused in the same way as neon light signs, believe it or not. The colors go to the credit of certain gases in the Earth's atmosphere, and when incoming solar particles collide with certain gases at certain heights, just like how neon lights work when certain gases are activated by the electricity flowing through the glass tubes. BTW: cdcsdfn BTW: Rare RED lights are caused when way up (above 185 miles above Earth) oxygen collides with the incoming solar particles. The common YELLOW or GREEN lights are caused when collisions with oxygen are in lower altitudes, like 60-185 miles above Earth. When lighter gases, such as helium and hydrogen, collide with solar particles, they make BLUE and PURPLE colors, but they are hard to see in the dark night sky. THANK YOU
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