NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 22 January 2023: Breathtaking aurora over Norway | Tech News

NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day 22 January 2023: Breathtaking aurora over Norway

NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for 22 January, 2023 is a stunning view of aurora over Norway after a solar flare slammed into Erath.

| Updated on: Jan 22 2023, 13:37 IST
In Pics: What are Northern lights? 5 facts about this stunning Aurora phenomenon
1/5 Auroras or Northern lights are shifting curtains of light in greens, blues and pinks which light up the night sky in the Northern and Southern poles. They are called Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis in the North Pole and Southern Lights or Aurora Australis in the South Pole. (AFP)
2/5 Auroras occur at the northern and southern poles, according to NASA. Occasionally, space weather interacting with Earth can cause auroras to extend even further away from the poles. These mesmerizing lights are constantly changing shape and intensity, from dim and scattered, to bright enough that they are visible for miles. (TWAN/Kwon O Chul)
3/5 According to NASA, when a solar storm interacts with Earth’s magnetic field, it results in the formation of Geomagnetic storms. The solar particles released during this interact with the various gases present in our atmosphere and form stunning Auroras which are a sight to behold, especially from places like Reykjavik in Iceland and Svalbard in Norway. (NOAA)
4/5 Did you know that Auroras form on other planets too? Yes! Not only Earth, but Auroras have been seen on planets like Jupiter and Saturn. NASA says that if a planet has an atmosphere and a magnetic field, Auroras can form if the conditions are right! (NASA)
5/5 Scientists study aurora from a variety of vantage points: below, above, and within. From below, ground based telescopes and radar look upward to track what’s happening in the sky. From above, NASA missions such as THEMIS investigate what causes auroras to dramatically shift from slowly shimmering waves of light to wildly shifting streaks of colour, according to the space agency. (NASA)
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This aurora image is of the summit of the Austnesfjorden fjord on the Lofoten islands, northern Norway in the early 2014. ((Image Credit & Copyright: Max Rive))

The Sun just can't keep calm these days! The constant activity on the Sun is unleashing solar flares that are causing magnetic storms when they impact Earth. The most fascinating impact of these fierce solar flares are auroras! The Sun passed the solar minimum of its 11-year cycle only a few years ago, but the surface activity is picking up and already triggering more spectacular auroras here on Earth. However, this spectacular image shared by NASA as its Astronomy Picture of the Day for 22 January, is from 2014- it is of a breathtaking view of an aurora over Norway.

NASA explained it this way, “Raise your arms if you see an aurora. With those instructions, two nights went by with, well, clouds -- mostly. On the third night of returning to the same peaks, though, the sky not only cleared up but lit up with a spectacular auroral display.”

“Arms went high in the air, patience and experience paid off, and the creative featured image was captured as a composite from three separate exposures,” NASA added. The setting in image is set at a summit of the Austnesfjorden fjord on the Lofoten islands, northern Norway in early 2014. But how do these stunning auroras form on Earth?

How do auroras form?

Auroras are basically the fascinating lights in the sky, which is the aftermath of Geomagnetic storms. NASA explains that Auroras are created when charged particles from the Sun are trapped in Earth's magnetic environment.

The collision of charged particles can hit oxygen molecules which exhibit Green and red hues. While the other Blue and Purple colours are caused by nitrogen molecules colliding with charged particles.

Did you know?

You will be surprised to know that Auroras are not something that happens only on Earth! If a planet has an atmosphere and magnetic field, they probably have auroras. NASA has earlier shared some amazing images of auroras on Jupiter and Saturn.

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First Published Date: 22 Jan, 13:36 IST