Over the weekend, residents of far northern Norway got to see the aurora borealis in the skies above their home. But this wasn’t the standard Northern Light they often see. Instead, this weekend’s aurora was created artificially by NASA rockets.
NASA’s AZURE mission seeks to understand more about how auroras move in our atmosphere. As part of this research project, scientists decided to create their own auroras to track.
NASA launched two sounding rockets on Friday night from the Andøya Space Center in Norway meant to create artificial auroras. Those auroras were captured by a handful of people in the area, and boy are they something to look at:
Time-lapse of @nasa AZURE mission launching 2 sounding rockets from @AndoyaSpace about 4 hours ago. They created glowing clouds (background is real aurora) to study and track the flow of particles in the ionosphere @NASA_Wallops @TamithaSkov @StormHour @chunder10 @B_Ubiquitous pic.twitter.com/sFiCCP9LdY
— Adrien Mauduit (@ADphotography24) April 6, 2019
Even though the auroras have been around forever, scientists still struggle to understand a great deal about them. For instance, we’re not sure exactly what the relationship is between the auroras and Earth’s magnetic field, and we need all kinds of novel experiments to uncover these aurora secrets.
Originally posted on Popular Mechanics