Scientists create artificial northern lights

In the countries closest to the poles, the northern lights attract thousands of tourists every year. Sweden, as well as the other Scandinavian countries, have the best observation points to enjoy one of the most fascinating natural spectacles. However, Swedish scientists have created artificial aurora borealis, but the cause is not tourism.

Aurora borealis

Problems generated by northern lights.

Northern lights are a very attractive phenomenon of nature to see. The colors in the sky are produced by particles carried by solar winds. When combined with nitrogen, oxygen and other elements present in our atmosphere, they take, by the action of sunlight, shades of various colors.

However, sometimes solar winds reach dimensions that are harmful to the instrumentation. There are geomagnetic storms that interact with the Earth’s magnetic field. In these cases, the space infrastructure can be damaged and prevent a good development of the technology. An example of this is the impediment to bring internet through satellites.

So much so, that a widely known company suffered the loss of numerous satellites due to a geomagnetic storm that took place in February 2022.

Artificial aurora borealis helps science

Scientists need more knowledge about solar storms and their behavior with the Earth’s atmosphere. To this end, researchers in Sweden created artificial northern lights to learn more about them and their characteristics.

The Swedish Space Physics Institute has conducted an exciting experiment by launching a rocket equipped with 8 barium barrels. Upon reaching an altitude of 240 kilometers, the rocket released the barrels, allowing their contents to mix with atmospheric elements. As a result, the barium combusted and produced a spectacular deep green cloud, similar to a beautiful natural aurora borealis. With the data collected, they conducted an exhaustive investigation.

They hope this will help to know how to prevent and protect weather satellites from upcoming solar storms.

Our planet’s magnetic field is to blame

Enjoying the natural spectacle of the northern lights is possible only from specific regions close to the poles of our planet. When we are in the vicinity of the north pole, these beautiful lights in the sky are known as aurora borealis. On the other hand, if we are near the south pole, they are called southern auroras.

Colors of the northern lights

Contemplating these fascinating luminous phenomena is a unique experience that can only be lived in these privileged places on Earth. The colors that can be seen are produced by the interaction of the particles with the elements of our atmosphere. Oxygen emits red or green tones. Nitrogen emits purple and blue lights.

It is a fascinating phenomenon that occurs thanks to the magnetic field of our planet. It is essential to sustain life on Earth and without it, we would not be able to enjoy this celestial spectacle.

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