Scientists were able to uncover the mysteries behind the formation of a special type of aurora that coats the night sky from east to west, such as a glowing pearl necklace, and this type of northern lights is known as auroral beads, and it often occurs before the great auroral displays, which are caused by electrical storms in Space called sub-storms.
Previously, scientists were not sure whether the auroral beads were somehow associated with other auroral displays as a phenomenon in space preceding substorms, or if they were caused by disturbances closer to Earth’s atmosphere.
But the powerful new computer models, along with ground observations and history of large events and interactions during the Substorm mission (THEMIS) NASA has provided the first strong evidence of the events in space that gave rise to these beads, and demonstrated the important role they play in our near space environment..
Vasilis Angelopoulos, principal investigator, said THEMIS At the University of California, Los Angeles: “We now know for sure that these beads are part of a process preceding the launch of a sub-storm into space. This is an important new piece of the puzzle.”“.
By providing a broader picture than what can be seen through the three spacecraftTHEMIS And the ground observations, the new models showed that the auroral beads were caused by a disturbance in the plasma, which is a fourth state of matter, consisting of gas and highly conductive particles, surrounding the earth.
The results, which were recently published in periodicals, will help Geophysical Research Letters And magazine Journal of Geophysical Research: Space PhysicsUltimately, scientists better understand the full range of eddy structures that appear in the aurora.
Yevgeny Panov, lead author of the study and a program scientist, said THEMIS At the Institute for Space Research of the Austrian Academy of Sciences: “These disturbances in space are initially caused by lighter and more slender electrons, moving with the weight of particles 2,000 times heavier, which theoretically could develop into large-scale auroral storms.“.
Aurora is created when charged particles from the sun are trapped in the Earth’s magnetic environment (the magnetosphere), and are directed to the Earth’s upper atmosphere, where collisions cause hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, and molecules to glow..
By modeling the near-Earth environment at scales from tens of miles to 1.2 million miles, scientists were able to THEMIS From showing details of how the auroral beads are formed.
When clouds of plasma flowing by the action of the sun pass through the Earth, their interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field creates bubbles of plasma floating behind the Earth..
The buoyancy imbalances between the bubbles and the heavier plasma in the magnetosphere give rise to plasma fingers 4,000 km wide, just like a giant lava lamp. These fingerprints form a brown, bean-shaped pattern in the aurora borealis.
The next step, scientists say, is to figure out how, why and when pellets can lead to a complete sub-storm.
In theory at least, the fingers might entangle the magnetic field lines and cause an explosive event known as magnetic reconnection, which is known as the formation of sub-storms and auroras that fill the night sky..