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Has the mysterious origin of the northern lights been revealed? These physicists says yes – New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans, Louisiana 2021-06-08 10:27:00 –

Watch the Northern Lights Time Laps in Glacier Bay National Park and protect the sky Aurora, or Northern Lights, can easily be described as the largest light show on Earth. Phenomena peculiar to high latitudes have given scientists awe and surprise for centuries. The mystery of the cause of the aurora has been speculated but unproven. The mystery of this great aurora has finally been solved. A group of physicists at the University of Iowa According to a newly published study, “the most brilliant aurora is produced by the powerful electromagnetic waves during a geomagnetic storm.” Has finally been proved. This light show, which we know as an aurora, reveals that this small group of electrons undergoes “resonance acceleration” due to the electric field of the Alfven wave. Just as surfers catch the waves and are continuously accelerated as surfers move along the waves, Greg Howes, an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Iowa, said electronic. This idea of ​​”surfing” in an electric field was first introduced by Russian physicist Lev Landau in 1946 and was named Landau Damping. His theory is now proven. Scientists who reproduce aurora have for decades understood how aurora is most likely to be made, but for the first time now. We were able to simulate it in a large plasma equipment (LPD) laboratory. UCLA’s basic plasma science facility. Scientists used a 20-meter-long chamber to recreate the Earth’s magnetic field using UCLA’s LPD’s powerful magnetic field coil. Scientists have generated in the chamber a plasma similar to that that exists in space near Earth. ”Using a specially designed antenna, the garden hose was swiftly rocked up and down to allow the waves to travel. As you can see, we fired an Alfben wave on the machine. Horse, “said Howes. When they began to experience the electrons “surfing” along the waves, they used another special device to measure how they were getting energy from the waves. Experiments. Did not reproduce the colorful sparkle that appears in the sky, but “our measurements clearly match the predictions from computer simulations and mathematical calculations in the laboratory, and the electrons surfing in the Alfven wave, We have proven that we can accelerate the electrons that cause aurora (up to 45 million mph), “says Howes. Cosmic measurements and theories are important measurements that show that they actually explain the main ways aurora are generated, “said research co-author Craig Kletzing. Space scientists were excited to hear this news, said Patrick Korn, a scientist in NASA’s Solar Physics Division, “I was very excited! Examining theories and models of the space environment. It is very rare to see laboratory experiments that do. “The universe is too big to be easily simulated in the laboratory.” Understanding the electron acceleration mechanism that causes the aurora will be useful for many future studies. Said Mr. Korn. The electron acceleration mechanism verified in this project works elsewhere in the solar system, so it will have many applications in astrophysics, and also in space weather forecasts that NASA is very interested in. Will also be used, “said in an email to the CNN: A long way to go, predicting how strong each storm will be now that the theory of how illumination aurora is made has been proven There is still a long way to go. “Predicting the intensity of a particular geomagnetic storm.” Based on solar observations and measurements from spacecraft between the Earth and the Sun, it remains an unsolved challenge. ” Howes said in an email. Being 10,000 miles from the surface of the Earth, we must learn how to use spacecraft observations to predict the strength of Alfven waves, “he said. I added.

Watch the Northern Lights in Glacier Bay National Park and the reserves above it

Auroras, or Auroras, can easily be described as the largest light show on earth. Phenomena peculiar to high latitudes have been awe and surprise to scientists for centuries.

The mystery surrounding the cause of the aurora has been speculated, but never proven.

The aurora mystery is finally lifted

A group of physicists at the University of Iowa has finally proved that “the most brilliant aurora is produced by strong electromagnetic waves during geomagnetic storms.” Newly published research..

This study shows that these phenomena, also known as Alfven waves, accelerate electrons toward the Earth, causing particles to produce a show of light known as the aurora.

“Measurements have revealed that this small group of electrons undergoes” resonance acceleration “by the electric field of the Alfven wave. It holds a PhD in physics and astronomy from the University of Iowa and co-author of this study, just as surfers catch the waves and are continuously accelerated as they move along the waves. is.

This idea of ​​electrons “surfing” in an electric field was first introduced by Russian physicist Lev Landau in 1946 and was named Landau damping. His theory is now proven.

Reproduce the aurora

For decades, scientists have understood how aurora borealis are likely to be generated, but for the first time in the Large Plasma Device (LPD) laboratory at UCLA’s Basic Plasma Science Facility. , I was able to simulate the aurora.

Scientists used UCLA’s LPD’s powerful magnetic field coil to recreate the Earth’s magnetic field using a 20-meter-long chamber. Scientists have created in the chamber a plasma similar to that that exists in space near Earth.

“We used a specially designed antenna to quickly rock the garden hose up and down and fire Alfven waves into the machine, much like observing waves traveling along the hose,” Howes said. Says. When they begin to experience “surfing” along the waves, they use another special device to see how they are getting energy from the waves. I measured it.

This experiment did not reproduce the colorful sparkles we see in the sky, but “laboratory measurements clearly match predictions from computer simulations and mathematical calculations, with Alfven waves. We’ve proven that surfing electrons can accelerate electrons (up to a speed of 45). One million mph causes aurora, “House said.

“These experiments allowed us to make important measurements that show that cosmic measurements and theories can actually explain the main ways aurora are produced,” said study co-author Craig Cressing. Stated.

Space scientists across the country were delighted to hear this news. “I was very excited! It’s very rare to see laboratory experiments testing theories and models of the space environment,” said Patrick Korn, a scientist at NASA’s Heliophysics Division. “The space is too big to easily simulate in the lab.”

Korn said he believes that understanding the electron acceleration mechanism that causes the aurora will be useful for many future studies.

“This will help us better understand space weather! The electron acceleration mechanism tested in this project works elsewhere in the solar system, so we will see many applications in astrophysics. It will also be used for weather forecasts, “which is of great interest to NASA,” Korn said in an email to CNN.

long way to go

Now that the theory of how the glowing aurora is generated has been proven, there is still a long way to go to predict the intensity of each storm.

“Predicting how strong a particular geomagnetic storm is based on observations of the Sun and measurements from spacecraft between the Earth and the Sun remains an unsolved challenge,” Howes said in an email. T.

“We have established an electronic link to surf in Alfven waves about 10,000 miles above the surface of the Earth. Now, how to use spacecraft observations to predict the intensity of those Alfven waves. You have to learn, “he added.

Has the mysterious origin of the northern lights been revealed? These physicists says yes Source link Has the mysterious origin of the northern lights been revealed? These physicists says yes

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