Generally, images of the aurora borealis capture bright, colorful bands dancing across the night sky, but a new satellite view captures a stunning auroral glow in a new light.
The Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer (VIIRS) instrument on the NASA/NOAA satellite imaged the Suomi National Polar-Orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite. Northern lightsalso known as the northern lights, over western Canada on November 5, 2023 at 5:23 a.m. EDT (1023 GMT).
VIIRS is sensitive to low-light emissions across a wide spectral region called the day-night band (DNB), which enhances reflections moon light As well as ground and air sources to detect visible light at night. In this case, visible light from the aurora streaming through Earth’s atmosphere is captured by the VIIRS instrument and displayed as a gray-scale image, which NASA will release on January 17, 2024, in 2024. a permit.
Related: Where to see the northern lights: a 2024 aurora borealis guide
“Aurora borealis are colorful bands of light that appear in the night sky, caused by a strong geomagnetic storm in the Earth’s magnetosphere,” NASA officials said in the statement. “several Coronal mass ejection The Sun sent a wave of charged particles toward Earth. After colliding with the Earth’s magnetosphere, some particles trapped in the magnetic field are accelerated to the top of the Earth Atmosphere They excite nitrogen and oxygen molecules and emit photons of light, known as aurora borealis.”
Aurora generally appears as green bands, but can also appear in red, blue, violet, pink, and white. These stunning light displays are most commonly seen in high latitude regions around the North Pole – where they are referred to as Northern lights (Northern Lights) – and in Antarctica, where they are referred to as the Southern Lights (Australian Lights).
Scientists have predicted an increase in solar activity this year, which could bring more frequent aurora displays to skywatchers. the sun The planet is going through its 25th solar cycle, a period of activity in its magnetic field that typically lasts about 11 years. The updated forecast indicates that the solar maximum, or peak activity, of the current cycle will occur from January to October 2024, according to a permit From Noah.
So, if you’re planning to do some sky watching, check out our site A guide on where to see the northern lights this year. And if you happen to spot the aurora borealis, you can participate in a citizen science project called Aurorasaurwhich helps scientists verify aurora sightings so they can be further studied for space weather models.