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'Natural Particle Accelerator' Above Earth's Atmosphere: How Northern and Southern Lights Are Gen

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posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 04:13 AM
'Natural Particle Accelerator' Above Earth's Atmosphere: How Northern and Southern Lights Are Generated:

The European Space Agency's Cluster satellites have flown through a natural particle accelerator just above Earth's atmosphere. The data they collected are unlocking how most of the dramatic displays of the northern and southern lights are generated.

This is the first time that scientists have measured such a region simultaneously using more than one satellite. The readings allow the electrical landscape of the acceleration region to be mapped.

These electrical potentials act in both uphill and downhill directions, accelerating particles towards and away from Earth, according to their charges.When particles strike the atmosphere, they create the shimmering curtains of light known as the aurora, or more commonly the northern and southern lights. About two-thirds of the bright auroras are estimated to be produced in this way.


Very fascinating article I found to be interesting & informative.
They were able to discover the stable duration of a large-scale aurora lasting upwards to 5 minutes with their findings.From my understandings the Cluster satellite orbit does not always come across these naturally occurring accelerators every time due to earth's temporary alignment of it's electrical fields variability so this is great that they were able to catch this.

It could open the door for a better understanding and future research involving these natural particle accelerated flourishes not only with earth but also within our solar system ( planets with strong electrical magnetic fields i.e. Jupiter & Saturn )more importantly understanding 'Space Plasma'

edit on 2-2-2011 by PerfectPerception because: (no reason given)

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 08:29 AM
Here is the image of Northern lights diagram from article:

posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 12:56 PM
Hello PerfectPerception,
What a great find, however in my view and the little i know about magnets, your streams of ( electons ) are going the wrong way.
The positive u have in the centre of your picture going upwards should be going downwards instead, and the negative 2 streams either side of the positive centre should be going upwards instead of downwards.
Magnets like to travel in a right hand twist.
However i find your thread most interesting, thank you very much for posting this.


posted on Feb, 2 2011 @ 07:50 PM
reply to post by Icanseeatoms

I appreciate your response but I must add that the picture was not done by me,it was the picture relating to the Op article.

posted on Mar, 19 2012 @ 01:09 AM
The Cluster C3 and C1 satellite trajectories between 16:55 and 17:15 UT on June 5, 2009. During this period, both satellites were able to send back data about conditions in the auroral acceleration region of Earth's dusk-side aurora. C3 flew through the region at an altitude of about 6,400 km (one Earth radius or RE), while C1 was flying at approximately 9,000 km (1.4 RE) and lagging about five minutes behind. The blue ovals indicate the poleward half of the auroral oval, which is characterized by upward currents in the dusk-side magnetic field.The northern lights, one of several astronomical phenomena called polar lights (aurora polaris), are shafts or curtains of colored light visible on occasion in the night sky.

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