IFT-Felleseminar: Friday, 14.15, Mars 16, Aud B:

The Aurora and Auroral Substorms
Patrick T. Newell
The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory
Laurel, Maryland, 20723

The aurora, or northern lights, is the airglow resulting when energetic particles from space strike the upper atmosphere.  The aurora is the only manifestation of the dynamic space weather processes in contant play surrounding the Earth visible to the unaided eye.  Thus the auroral oval, roughly a ring around both magnetic poles, is a projection screen upon which major disturbances to the Earth’s magnetosphere can be observed.  The most prominent example of this is the auroral substorm, which provides the best viewing from the ground, while explosively releasing magnetic energy stored in the Earth’s magnetotail.  We discuss the aurora primarily as seen from global satellite images and particle data, and the way in which it reflects space weather.