Tuesday, February 16, 2016
Integral X-rays Earth’s aurora
Normally busy with observing high-energy black holes, supernovas and neutron stars, ESA’s Integral space observatory recently had the chance to look back at our own planet’s aurora.
Auroras are well known as the beautiful light shows at polar latitudes as the solar wind interacts with Earth’s magnetic field.
As energetic particles from the Sun are drawn along Earth’s magnetic field, they collide with different molecules and atoms in the atmosphere to create dynamic, colourful light shows in the sky, typically in green and red.
But what may be less well known is that auroras also emit X-rays, generated as the incoming particles decelerate.
Source & further reading:http://www.esa.int/Our_Activities/Space_Science/Integral_X-rays_Earth_s_aurora