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Aurora Light Of Mystery Essay

5541 words - 22 pages

Aurora- Light of Mystery

Text Box: This shuttle image shows the characteristic oval shape of the aurora.i
What is aurora?

Auroras, or polar lights, are the luminous phenomenon of the upper
atmosphere occurs in high latitudes of both hemispheres. Auroras in
the northern hemisphere are called aurora borealis and those in the
south hemisphere are called aurora australis. Aurora (Latin for
'dawn') is beautiful and amazing lights which are visible in the dark
sky in the poles. It can appear as many different forms, but usually
it is a greenish quivering glow near the horizon. In 1621 the term
'aurora' was coined by the French astronomer. More and more
observations were done and a concrete description was archived soon
afterwards. Many theories were developed this phenomenon. Some
suggested that it was the reflection of sunlight of artic light and
some believed it was the firelight at the edge of the world; however
both hypotheses are rejected because it was found that aurora was
found 100-400km above the earth surface which is well beyond the
atmosphere. Around the 17th century it has been discovered that it is
caused by the interaction between energetic plasma particles from
outside atmosphere with atoms of higher atmosphere. Till now, not all
the questions about aurora have been answered, but with the escalating
astronautic technology, we have a much better understanding on this
puzzling phenomenon.

How does aurora form?

At every moment the sun is giving out charged particles in solar wind.
Some of these particles are captured by the earth magnetic field and
the bombardment of the solar wind with the atmospheric particles in
the poles will then gives out energy as light. However this is just
the basic principle of the formation of aurora, there are many more
mechanisms going on at the same time which when they add up together
will give rise to this stunning phenomenon.

Earth and its outer space

It is commonly believed that earth lies in an empty space in the
universe which is vacuum. This is not absolutely true because vacuum
is a space with nothing, no even air, but there are actually particles
existing in the interstellar space. At sea level the density of air
molecules is 1 quintillion per cm3; at 100km roughly where aurora
occurs, density is 1 trillion per cm3; in the interstellar space the
density is merely 1 per cm3. Therefore as a result, most of outer
space is filled with electrically conductive plasma. Besides of
particles, there are magnetic field, electric current, electromagnetic
force, gravitational forces… It is these invisible, but important
factors which give rise to the interaction between the sun and the
earth.

Sun and solar wind

Text Box: Sunspot Cycle (1850 – 1975) ii The sun is like a burning
furnace which as a temperature as...

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