Aveneu Park, Starling, Australia

Auroras (Betz). Aurora Borealis or the Northern

Auroras are one of the fascinating parts of our world. A natural phenomena that occurs in the Polar Regions of Earth. There are two on our planet, Aurora Borealis in the Northern Hemisphere and Aurora Australis in the Southern Hemisphere. They are an interaction between solar wind and the electromagnetic belts that surround Earth(“Auroras”). They were named in 1619 BCE by Galileo Galilei after the Roman Goddess of the Dawn(“The History of Auroras”). They take form in many varying shapes, sizes and colors and are a very intriguing part of our universe. While these are very beautiful, they are additionally very mysterious. We do however know things about them like how there made, where they exist and the components that going into, finding, making and observing these fascinating parts of our world(“Auroras”).

       Auroras and all of the parts that go into producing them have been around for a long time. Sightings of them go all the way back to 700 BCE when the ancient Chinese and Greek people took note of them as well as the Romans who additionally saw them centuries ago. Galileo Galilei gave them their name from the Roman Goddess of morning in 1619 BCE. He however believed they were merely the universes reflection of the beaming sunlight(“The History of Auroras”). The Swedish astronomer Anders Celsius who made the temperature scale, conducted explorations and research upon them in the early 1800’s (“Anders Celsius”). Frederic Edwin church made a painting of Aurora Borealis in 1865. This was a very important part of expanding the knowledge of Auroras in the modern world(“The History of Auroras”). Auroras have been around for a very long time and will, hopefully continue to exist for more of our future.

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      There are two Auroras on Earth, one in both hemispheres. They are located in the South and North Poles because of the high altitudes of these regions (Betz). Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights are located in the North Pole but can be seen from other locations in the Northern Hemisphere(“Aurora Borealis”). Aurora Australis occupies the South Pole. These two Auroras follow the eleven year solar cycle and people come from all over the world to see these light shows occurring in the sky(“Solar Activity Cycle”). 

     There are a lot of things that go into Auroras. They consist of many shapes, colors and sounds as some of the key things that make them unique and intriguing to see. One of the most beautiful and distinctive qualities of Auroras are the colors they exude. They can be seen in glowing shades of red, yellow, green, blue and purple. Along with colors, one of their interesting features are their shapes. They are constructed in sheets, curtains, streaks, drapes and arcs. Auroras have sometimes been described as cosmic rain. They form as a band around the magnetic poles, this is known as the auroral oval. The noise they generate is light crackly noises because of the movement they make as they shift through the sky(“Auroras”).

        Auroras are created in a very interesting process with many parts to it.  Auroras begin with sun spots or solar flares that burst into solar wind that then interacts with the magnetic belts called the Van Allen Belts. This merging of this solar wind and electromagnetic belts makes for the beautiful display of lights known as Auroras(Zell).

      One of the vital parts to the process are the Van Allen Belts. These were named after James Van Allen, a space scientist, in 1958. He launched a satellite into space that went 600 miles above Earth. The results this satellite attained were very peculiar. It showed buffering cosmic radiation levels that would remain extremely high and then suddenly drop to zero. This was a very irregular occurrence and brought attention to this expedition. One of Van Allen’s pupils came up with an interpretation of what was happening. He suggested the radiation levels were too high and created a complication in the system. To verify this idea James Van Allen sent another satellite into space to explore this explanation(“Van Allen Belts”). 

       When this new satellite was launched into space, it begin to notice something in the shape of a belt where the strange radiation levels were occurring. It was around the equator but had a noticeable arc towards the more polar regions of Earth. They soon discovered there were two electromagnetic belts around Earth. They were named after James Van Allen and were called the Van Allen belts. When the bands interact with the solar winds Auroras are made. The outer part of these consists of electrons and the inner portion is made up of protons. No one knows the real reason for this magnetosphere because Auroras are only naturally occurring phenomenons, but, what we do know is that these are a vital part of the process in which Auroras begin(“Van Allen Belts”). 

      Another critical component of the formation of Auroras are sunspots. This is one of the elements in which the process begins. Sunspots often show as dim blotches on the sun. They follow the 11 year solar cycle which is the adjustments that the sun makes. Their inner layer is the umbra and their outer layer is the penumbra. Sunspots occur because of magnetic disruptions on the suns outer layer. These interruptions hold back the movement of gases on the sun. They appear darker because they have a very low temperature and they occur in various sizes and often in groups


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