Lively green and purple aurora swirled and danced all over the night sky in Sweden recently. The night light display was captured by a sky camera in Kiruna, Sweden, which is part of the European Space Agency (ESA) Space Weather Service Network.
This camera points straight up and is equipped with a fish-eye lens to capture the sky from horizon to horizon. Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, were visible due to the impact of a coronal mass ejection (CME) in our planet’s magnetosphere on October 12. into space on October 9, 2021. A few days later, the Northern Lights were seen around the world in the northern hemisphere.
“What I love about this video is the chance to see this beautiful, purple aurora, more clearly visible during intense geomagnetic storms,” said Hannah Laurens, a researcher in space weather applications at the European Space Operations Center (ESOC). “The movement of this whirling structure in space and time is often called auroral dynamics.”
Laurens explained how the Northern Lights are a manifestation of complex drivers working in the distant magnetosphere, making it a useful and beautiful tool for monitoring weather conditions in space. But being able to study the auroral dynamics is especially important when studying the relationship between the ionosphere and the magnetosphere, which are linked by lines of magnetic fields.
Different spacecraft keep an eye on the sun: Solar Dynamics Observatory, Parker Solar Probe and Solar Orbiter are just some of the tools scientists use to learn more about our star and how it affects our planet. Earth observatories, as well as all-sky cameras, are also important for understanding the complex and sometimes dangerous interactions between the sun and the earth.
All-sky cameras have worked in Kiruna since International Geophysical Year 1957-1958, and a digital all-sky camera has been in operation since 2001. Kiruna Atmospheric and Geophysical Observatory (KAGO) is part of the Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF),
While most of the solar wind is blocked by the earth’s protective magnetosphere, some charged particles get trapped in the earth’s magnetic field and flow down to the geomagnetic poles and collide with the upper atmosphere to create the beautiful aurora.