The NORUSCA II camera
The aurora as seen as a color composite image from the NORUSCA II camera – three bands were combined to make the image with each band assigned a different color -- red, green, and blue – to enhance the features of the aurora for analysis (Photo: Optics Express)
The red arrow points to the unidentified low-intensity wave pattern, which the researchers suspect is an auroral-generated wave interaction with airglow, while, for contrast, the blue arrow points to the faint emission of the Milky Way (Photo: Optics Express)
An aurora appearing in the night sky at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard, Norway, taken November 2010 (Photot: Njaal Gulbarndsen)
Students perform measurements of the aurora in front of the Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard, Norway, November 2010 (Photo: Njaal Gulbarndsen
Even those of us not lucky enough to have witnessed them in person will likely have marveled at photos of the stunning auroras caused by high energy particles from the Sun colliding with atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere. A team of space-weather researchers has now developed a new camera called NORUSCA II that has produced the first-ever hyperspectral images of the aurora borealis (or northern lights) and may have uncovered a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon.
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