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What are Auroras?


NASA recently shared an incredible picture of an aurora captured from the International Space Station.


GS I: Geography

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Formation of Auroras
  2. Carbon Dioxide Aurora

Formation of Auroras:

  • Auroras are formed when charged particles ejected from the sun’s corona create solar wind, which interacts with Earth’s ionosphere.
  • In the Northern Hemisphere, they are called the northern lights or aurora borealis, while in the Southern Hemisphere, they are known as the southern lights or aurora australis.
  • The asymmetry of auroras between hemispheres is influenced by the interference between the sun’s magnetic field and Earth’s magnetic field.
  • The commonly observed green and red auroras occur between 100 to 250 kilometers above the planet’s surface due to the excited state of atomic oxygen.

Carbon Dioxide Aurora:

  • When charged particles collide with Earth’s atmosphere, they interact with various atoms and molecules, including carbon dioxide.
  • Carbon dioxide, known for its role as a greenhouse gas in the lower atmosphere, also exists in trace amounts in the upper atmosphere.
  • Around 90 kilometers above Earth, carbon dioxide molecules become excited during an aurora, leading to the emission of infrared radiation.
  • This results in a higher presence of infrared radiation in the atmosphere compared to typical levels.

-Source: Indian express


December 2023