Dartmouth Events

Physics & Astronomy/Thayer Plasma Seminar - Sarah Jones, NASA

Title: Pulsating Aurora, the Celestial Lava Lamp: Ongoing Efforts to Illuminate Our Understanding of this Far-Reaching Phenomena"

Tuesday, April 17, 2018
Wilder 202
Intended Audience(s): Public
Categories: Lectures & Seminars

Abstract: The aurora is created when electrons (and sometimes ions) stream down from Earth's magnetosphere into the upper atmosphere and cause light to be emitted by the local gases. Pulsating aurora is one of the most commonly occurring types of aurora, developing on more than half of all nights. It typically begins after a geomagnetic substorm when the reorganization of the Earth's magnetosphere allows new instabilities to occur. This allows researchers to use observations of pulsating aurora as a means of investigating various instabilities and mechanisms in the upper atmosphere and magnetosphere. Pulsating aurora is spatially very widespread and temporally very persistent and is caused by higher energy particles than other types of aurora. These higher energy particles are known to produce changes in the composition of the upper atmosphere. In addition, some of these particles may even originate in the Earth's radiation belts, contributing to the loss of radiation belt electrons to the upper atmosphere. This presentation will discuss some frequently observed features in pulsating aurora as well as current efforts to understand its role in the modification of atmospheric composition and magnetospheric electron loss.

For more information, contact:
Tressena Manning

Events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted.