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Rocket launches into aurora plus a new meteorite falls in China

21 Feb 2012, 19:38 UTC
Rocket launches into aurora plus a new meteorite falls in China
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As some of us stood amazed at the haphazard dance of northern lights last Saturday night, a team of scientists and graduate students from New Hampshire’s Space Science Center watched with equal amazement night as a rocket laden with sensors … Continue reading →

A two-stage Terrier-Black Brant rocket arced through aurora 200 miles above Earth as the Magnetosphere-Ionosphere Coupling in the Alfvén resonator (MICA) mission investigated the physics of the northern lights. Photo by Terry E. Zaperach, NASA
As some of us stood amazed at the haphazard dance of northern lights last Saturday night, a team of scientists and graduate students from New Hampshire’s Space Science Center watched with equal amazement night as a rocket laden with sensors arced 200 miles into the sky over the Poker Flat Research Range in Fairbanks, Alaska. Its purpose – to learn how Earth’s magnetic bubble (magnetosphere) couples with the upper atmosphere to deliver displays of the northern lights.
Magnetic waves are in part responsible for the multiple arcs of northern lights in Saturday's display. Photo: Bob King
Instruments on board sampled changes in the magnetic and electric fields stimulated by a barrage of electrically charged particles streaming into Earth’s ionosphere from the ...

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