NASA is seeking to better understand the phenomenon of the northern lights and aurora borealis. The agency has launched a new probe especially designed to inform scientists on this particular blast of lights activity.
NASA in collaboration with the State University of Utah, have released a probe that is aimed to provide scientists with information for a better understanding of the Northern Lights phenomenon.
The project is called The Aurora Spatial Structures Probe and it has been launched Wednesday, early in the morning from the Alaskan Poker Flat Research Range, towards the Aurora Borealis, with six cargos.
This experiment, will allow researchers and satellite operators to comprehend what happens during the auroral action, happening in the thermosphere, as well to uncover how they impact satellites, stated a news report.
The activity of solar winds, outgrows electric currents in the higher atmosphere, which can create heat, which can broaden the thermosphere, which seriously expands the drag on satellites, explained Charles Swenson, director of the Centre for Space Engineering at Utah State University and lead investigator.
The Aurora Spatial Structures Probe, consists of a big instrument for taking measures and other six smaller probes, that are discharged by the machine, during the flight and they play the role of spacial buoys in order to generate a network of measurements that would offer a wider view of the aurora. Prior evidence from the probes, during the flight, to the grounded station, have indicated that the performance proceeded as designed. The smaller probes, weight each around seven pounds and have a diameter of six inches.
Apart form this, NASA has launched on Monday, sounding rockets, near the area of Fairbanks, into the Northern Lights, to gather more information about what occurs in the upper part o the atmosphere, regarding the air currents.
Researchers have waited 13 months to launch the device, as the weather was not favourable.
Aurora Borealis, are natural displays of lights in the sky that can be seen in the Antarctic and Arctic areas. The cause of the phenomenon are particles charged with protons and electrons, which invade the atmosphere and provoke ionisation.
The Northern Lights are usually generated by sunspots, which liberate large amounts of energy into the outer space, that generally bumps into Earth. The interaction with the atmosphere produces the spectacular lights that we see.
Image Source: USA Today
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