The dancing lights of the aurora have enthralled humans for centuries. Early recorded histories illustrate the truly magnetic pull that these awesome displays have had over observers throughout the ages. At one time, scientists and explorers could only guess at the cause of the magnificent lights in the polar sky, while today we have a wealth of data we can use to study the origin of the aurora. Even now, do we truly understand the processes that result in the northern lights?
Various interactions between electromagnetic waves and charged particles can occur very near the Earth as well as far away in the magnetosphere. These events conspire to create a host of various auroral emissions and forms. Today, we use ground-based instrumentation, sounding rocket experiments, and in-situ satellite observations from the full Heliophysics satellite fleet to study the aurora in all of its complexity.
In this talk, Allison Jaynes will focus on the history, the current understanding of the science, and of course, the natural beauty of the aurora. Come learn about a phenomenon that on rare occasions can occur in the night sky directly above Boulder! And find out how scientists are studying the origins and chasing the mystery of the northern lights.
Watch the Public Lecture: