First Aurora Video from Space Shows Invisible Parts of Electrified Halo

October 24, 2000

Contact: Diane Ainsworth, UCB Public Information Office
510-643-6259, Pager: 510-442-3693,

BERKELEY, CA--The first images to show the invisible portions of an aurora from space have been released by a University of California, Berkeley, team of scientists operating the far-ultraviolet camera onboard NASA’s Magnetosphere-to-Aurora Global Exploration (IMAGE) spacecraft.

The video, which shows the passage of the aurora borealis over the northern hemisphere on July 14-15, 2000, is available to download as a QuickTime video clip at the UC Berkeley Campus News web site:

The onslaught of solar material during this Bastille Day magnetic storm produced sparkling halos of electrified particles that can be seen writhing, thickening and thinning to wispy streaks of light during four hours of observations. Many light shows--caused when huge eruptions of fast-moving, multimillion-degree gas from the Sun crash into the Earth’s protective magnetic shell--are expected to occur through the middle of next year as the Sun roils and spews solar particles into space at the height of its 11-year solar cycle.

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