Solved: The Mystery of Earth’s Theta Aurora
From the ground, aurora have mystified humans since we began to question the world. The space age revealed more mystery – the Theta Auroral Oval (inset) and the challenge of understanding the phenomena. (Photo Credit: NASA/APOD)
The mystery of the northern lights – aurora – spans time beyond history and to cultures of both the southern and northern hemispheres. The mystery involves the lights, fantastic patterns and mystical changes. Ancient men and women stood huddled under them wondering what it meant. Was it messages from the gods, the spirits of loved ones, warnings or messages to comfort their souls?
Aurora reside literally at the edge of space. While we know the basics and even more, we are still learning. A new published work has just added to our understanding by explaining how one type of aurora – the Theta Aurora – is created from the interaction of the charged particles, electric and magnetic fields surrounding the Earth. Their conclusions required the coordination of simultaneous observations of two missions.
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