Friday, September 23, 2011

APOD 1.4

September's Aurora
     Today, the Sun crosses the celestial equator and marks the beginning of autumn in the northern hemisphere.  The equinox arrives at 0905 UT today.  The connection between the seasonal change and the aurora ("coronal mass ejection") is still somewhat a mystery however, astronomers know that autumn (and spring) bring an increase in geomagnetic storms.  Although fall offers good conditions for viewing auroras on Earth, the auroras are also visible from space.  Luckily, in space, Earth is surrounded by a magnetic field when this occurs which protects us from solar winds. 
     This is a truly amazing phenomenon which I think all people should see in person at least once.  If it looks this beautiful in pictures, it must be breath taking in person.

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