Friday, November 4, 2011

APOD 2.1

October Skylights (October 28)
                                     See Explanation.  Clicking on the picture will download
 the highest resolution version available.
     On October 24th, a coronal mass ejection (gas bubble explosion on the Sun which disrupts solar wind) impacted our magnetosphere, which caused this auroral display.  This picture was taken near Whitby, Ontario, Canada but auroral activity was also noted as far south as Alabama. Aurora consist mostly of electrons that travel along the magnetic field lines.  As they go to the upper atmosphere, they collide with various atoms and molecules, once they collide the atom or molecule stores this energy gained and becomes excited The red color in this picture comes from excited oxygen atoms (above 100 kilometers).  The green color is from oxygen atoms that have returned to the ground state. This phenomenon surely makes for a good photo opportunity.

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