Virtual Public Lecture: Bob Lysak
The dancing, shimmering glow of the northern lights, the aurora borealis (and their counterpart in the southern hemisphere, the aurora australis) has amazed mankind for centuries. Early northern peoples from Alaska to Siberia have wondered about the lights and created legends to explain them. Now in the space age, experiments flown on satellites and rockets have shown that the aurora is produced by the impact of electrons on the upper atmosphere and is related to oscillations in the Earth’s magnetic field that are associated with solar activity. The aurora has also been seen at other planets such as Jupiter and Saturn and is likely to be present at planets in other solar systems. This talk will outline our present understanding of the causes of the aurora.