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 NASA Make New Discoveries about Northeren Lights!

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MoonDragon
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PostSubject: NASA Make New Discoveries about Northeren Lights!   Thu Dec 13, 2007 12:54 pm

NASA's fleet of THEMIS spacecraft, launched less than 8 months ago, has made three important discoveries about spectacular eruptions of Northern Lights called "substorms" and the source of their power. The discoveries include giant magnetic ropes that connect Earth's upper atmosphere to the Sun and explosions in the outskirts of Earth's magnetic field.

"The mission is only beginning but THEMIS is already surprising us," says Vassilis Angelopoulos the mission's principal investigator at the University of California, Los Angeles.

The discoveries began in March less than a month after the five THEMIS satellites had been activated. "On March 23, 2007, a substorm erupted over Alaska and Canada producing vivid auroras for more than two hours." A network of ground cameras organized to support THEMIS photographed the display from below while the satellites measured particles and fields from above.

Right away the substorm surprised investigators: "The auroras surged westward twice as fast as anyone thought possible, crossing 15 degrees of longitude in less than one minute," says Angelopoulos. The storm had traversed an entire polar time zone in 60 seconds flat!

Also, "the display was surprisingly bursty." Photographs taken by ground cameras and NASA's Polar satellite (also supporting the THEMIS mission) revealed a series of staccato outbursts each lasting 10 minutes or so. "Some of the bursts died out while others reinforced each other and went on to become major events."

Scientists have been tracking and studying substorms for more than a century, yet these phenomena remained mostly unknown until THEMIS went into action.

Even more impressive was the substorm's power. Angelopoulos estimates the total energy of the two-hour event at five hundred thousand billion (5 x 1014) Joules. That's approximately equivalent to the energy of a magnitude 5.5 earthquake.



Complete Article: http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2007/11dec_themis.htm?list1058884
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Goth_Ink
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PostSubject: Re: NASA Make New Discoveries about Northeren Lights!   Thu Dec 13, 2007 5:12 pm

These lights are beautiful! Take a look through the link on the page that Moonie has put in his post. Wouldn't it be amazing to be standing beneath that watching it all unfold? sunny
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Blue Water
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PostSubject: Re: NASA Make New Discoveries about Northeren Lights!   Thu Dec 13, 2007 9:34 pm

Evidence of time-space being interfered with, anyone thinks? scratch
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PostSubject: Re: NASA Make New Discoveries about Northeren Lights!   Fri Dec 14, 2007 8:45 pm

Wow Moondragon, that was amazing! Yes Goth, it would be amazing to see that unfold. Beautiful!!

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PostSubject: Re: NASA Make New Discoveries about Northeren Lights!   Sat Dec 15, 2007 3:16 am

I remember seeing an episode of Doctor Who (the new series with David Tennant as the Doctor) where they travelled back in time to when the Earth was formed and the cinematic technology and special effects were just awesome as they showed the Big Bang. I felt so involved watching it...I can just imagine being present under the northern lights evoking that same awe and wonder...
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