Journal Highlights

Sounding Rockets Probe the Northern Lights Above Norway

Research Spotlight—

Scientists measure how the aurora affects winds in the upper atmosphere.

When a dazzling aurora lights up the polar skies, it’s a sign of a disturbance in Earth’s magnetosphere, the magnetic shield that protects our planet from solar radiation. The aurora borealis and aurora australis—also known as the northern and southern lights—occur when solar particles penetrate Earth’s magnetic field and collide with oxygen and nitrogen, releasing photons that make the sky glow blue, green, red, and yellow. Now, thanks in part to the lucky timing of a sounding rocket, researchers have obtained rare measurements of wind speeds near an aurora as it began to dance....more

-- Emily Underwood, Freelance Writer,