NASA Launches Two Rockets To Study Auroras

Katie Ramirez
April 10, 2019

"The more we learn about auroras, the more we understand about the fundamental processes that drive near-Earth space - a region that is increasingly part of the human domain, home not only to astronauts but also communications and Global Positioning System signals that can affect those of us on the ground on a daily basis", NASA's blog post reads.

This wasn't the only light show NASA created as the space agency also made an unbelievable light show with chemical compounds that were ejected by the Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment (AZURE).

These missions will launch from the Andøya and Svalbard rocket ranges in Norway to study the processes occurring inside the Earth's polar cusp - where the planet's magnetic field lines bend down into the atmosphere and allow particles from space to intermingle with those of Earthly origin - and nearby auroral oval. The gases created colorful clouds visible from the ground.

NASA says the chemicals pose no threat to residents.

The lights, which looked like an "alien attack" attack to some, were actually a part of an ongoing NASA experiment dubbed The Auroral Zone Upwelling Rocket Experiment (AZURE). "These colorful clouds created a light show in the sky, helping researchers track the flow of neutral and charged particles in Earth's ionosphere".

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The clouds were then tracked to measure the winds and flow of particles as the glowing spots dispersed.

Norway news website VOL explained that the police received many reports about the lights, and Michael Theusner, who captured a timelapse of the footage while recording the Northern Lights explains that even he was a little nervous about the idea of aliens.

A light show appearing in the skies over northern Norway last week sparked speculation of an alien spacecraft visiting Earth. Understanding The Area Separating Earth And Outer Space AZURE is part of a larger effort called The Grand Challenge Initiative - Cusp, an global collaboration of scientists that aims to study the ionosphere where the lines of the magnetic field bends and particles from Earth mixes with particles from outer space.

"When unusual lights and colourful, expanding clouds appeared, I first did not have an explanation for", Michael Theusner, who captured a time-lapse of the footage while recording the Northern Lights, explained in the description of his YouTube video of the event.

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