An aurora australis, the southern version of the phenomenon as seen by the International Space Station in 2010
Auroras paint sky around the poles when the sun is particularly active, throwing highly charged particles into the earth's atmosphere. Scientists once believed that magnificent events are mirror images, but to their surprise, displays to the north (polar glow) and to the south (aurora australis) do not match exactly.
Since scientists have realized these two heavenly manifestations, I agree, they were trying to understand why. Now a team of researchers thinks it has found the cause ̵
But the Earth's magnetic field is not the only one there – the sun also has one that affects the constant flow of highly charged plasma particles that flow out in every direction. The magnetic field embedded in this stream, called the solar wind, interferes with Earth-produced, intersecting it from the Earth's face to the sun and stretching it on the night side, turned from the sun to a tail. The magnetic lines of the field pass through the distorted field and are not fixed in place – they break and reform into dramatic events called repeat links. This phenomenon in the tail is what scientists have thought to cause a mismatch between the northern and southern shades. (This is the queue that matters to the radiance because it is the side of the magnetic field that is in the dark, and the glow is visible only at night.)
Instead, the team behind this study realizes that the magnetic field of the solar wind is not always arranged exactly with the Earth. When distorted, it introduces asymmetry between the North and South Pole into the magnetic field of the Earth – and this in turn causes a mismatch between the northern and the southern radiance.
So, researchers have gathered distant infrared observations of the north and south. lights and track how far the two Aurors matched. Then they added data about the re-connections in Earth's magnetic queue. But when they compared the two sets of measurements, they saw exactly the opposite of what they expected to see – instead of these dramatic restorations that increased the asymmetry of the glow, they pressed the glow back into coincidence.
It is not vital, as the shades are just symptoms of how the sun is affecting the Earth through a set of phenomena called cosmic times. But cosmic weather can hinder navigation and communication satellites and even turn off electrical networks. And scientists are still trying to understand how cosmic time really works and how they can better predict it. Aurora is just the most beautiful phenomenon to start cracking.
The study is described in an article published last month in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics