A NASA satellite caught an amazing image of the northern lights. In the early morning hours of Monday, October 8th, aurora borealis lit up the sky over Canada. The "day-night band" (DNB) of the Visible Infrared Imaging Radiometer Suite (VIIRS), the Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite created the image below.
NASA Earth Observatory says "The DNB sensor detects dim light signals such as auroras, air glow, gas flares, city lights, and reflected moonlight. In the case of the image, the sensor detected the visible light emissions as energetic particles rained down from Earth's magnetosphere and into the gases of the upper atmosphere. The images are similar to those collected by the Operational Linescan System flown on U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) satellites for the past three decades."
NASA Earth Observatory says "Auroras typically occur when solar flares and coronal mass ejections—or even an active solar wind stream—disturb and distort the magnetosphere, the cocoon of space protected by Earth's magnetic field. The collision of solar particles and pressure into our planet's magnetosphere accelerates particles trapped in the space around Earth (such as in the radiation belts). Those particles are sent crashing down into Earth's upper atmosphere—at altitudes of 100 to 400 kilometers (60 to 250 miles)—where they excite oxygen and nitrogen molecules and release photons of light. The results are rays, sheets, and curtains of dancing light in the sky."
Copyright 2012 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.
7831 N. Business Park Drive
Tucson, AZ 85743