The northern and southern lights are different Heres why

first_img The northern and southern lights are different. Here’s why The findings could improve the prediction of solar storms—which can disrupt electricity grids, satellites, and astronauts in space, the team says. For now, though, observers can just appreciate these stunning—but distinct—light shows. Click to view the privacy policy. Required fields are indicated by an asterisk (*) By Alex FoxJan. 25, 2019 , 5:10 PM Sign up for our daily newsletter Get more great content like this delivered right to you! Country The northern lights (above) and their lesser-known sibling the southern lights, aurora borealis and aurora australis, respectively, undulate across the skies in hazy green and sometimes red ribbons near Earth’s polar regions. The two phenomena aren’t identical, however, and now researchers think they know why.Aurorae appear as solar wind, a gust of charged particles emitted by the sun, blows across Earth’s magnetic field. Because the charged particles flow along symmetrical lines in Earth’s magnetic field linking the north and south poles, it made sense to assume the atmospheric displays in each hemisphere would mirror each other. Advances in Earth imaging technology overturned this way of thinking in 2009, when scientists observed simultaneous aurorae drifting across the poles in patterns that didn’t match up.The study examined images of 10 asymmetric aurorae taken simultaneously from both poles and related changes in the aurorae to changes in Earth’s magnetotail, a windsocklike extension of Earth’s magnetic field. The researchers found that when solar wind approaches Earth from an east-west direction, it creates uneven pressure on Earth’s magnetotail and tilts it toward the side of the planet shrouded in darkness. That tilt causes the idiosyncrasies of shape and location of the northern and southern lights, the team reports this week in the Journal of Geophysical Research: Space Physics. Pixabay Country * Afghanistan Aland Islands Albania Algeria Andorra Angola Anguilla Antarctica Antigua and Barbuda Argentina Armenia Aruba Australia Austria Azerbaijan Bahamas Bahrain Bangladesh Barbados Belarus Belgium Belize Benin Bermuda Bhutan Bolivia, Plurinational State of Bonaire, Sint Eustatius and Saba Bosnia and Herzegovina Botswana Bouvet Island Brazil British Indian Ocean Territory Brunei Darussalam Bulgaria Burkina Faso Burundi Cambodia Cameroon Canada Cape Verde Cayman Islands Central African Republic Chad Chile China Christmas Island Cocos (Keeling) Islands Colombia Comoros Congo Congo, the Democratic Republic of the Cook Islands Costa Rica Cote d’Ivoire Croatia Cuba Curaçao Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark Djibouti Dominica Dominican Republic Ecuador Egypt El Salvador Equatorial Guinea Eritrea Estonia Ethiopia Falkland Islands (Malvinas) Faroe Islands Fiji Finland France French Guiana French Polynesia French Southern Territories Gabon Gambia Georgia Germany Ghana Gibraltar Greece Greenland Grenada Guadeloupe Guatemala Guernsey Guinea Guinea-Bissau Guyana Haiti Heard Island and McDonald Islands Holy See (Vatican City State) Honduras Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran, Islamic Republic of Iraq Ireland Isle of Man Israel Italy Jamaica Japan Jersey Jordan Kazakhstan Kenya Kiribati Korea, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, Republic of Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Lao People’s Democratic Republic Latvia Lebanon Lesotho Liberia Libyan Arab Jamahiriya Liechtenstein Lithuania Luxembourg Macao Macedonia, the former Yugoslav Republic of Madagascar Malawi Malaysia Maldives Mali Malta Martinique Mauritania Mauritius Mayotte Mexico Moldova, Republic of Monaco Mongolia Montenegro Montserrat Morocco Mozambique Myanmar Namibia Nauru Nepal Netherlands New Caledonia New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria Niue Norfolk Island Norway Oman Pakistan Palestine Panama Papua New Guinea Paraguay Peru Philippines Pitcairn Poland Portugal Qatar Reunion Romania Russian Federation Rwanda Saint Barthélemy Saint Helena, Ascension and Tristan da Cunha Saint Kitts and Nevis Saint Lucia Saint Martin (French part) Saint Pierre and Miquelon Saint Vincent and the Grenadines Samoa San Marino Sao Tome and Principe Saudi Arabia Senegal Serbia Seychelles Sierra Leone Singapore Sint Maarten (Dutch part) Slovakia Slovenia Solomon Islands Somalia South Africa South Georgia and the South Sandwich Islands South Sudan Spain Sri Lanka Sudan Suriname Svalbard and Jan Mayen Swaziland Sweden Switzerland Syrian Arab Republic Taiwan Tajikistan Tanzania, United Republic of Thailand Timor-Leste Togo Tokelau Tonga Trinidad and Tobago Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan Turks and Caicos Islands Tuvalu Uganda Ukraine United Arab Emirates United Kingdom United States Uruguay Uzbekistan Vanuatu Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of Vietnam Virgin Islands, British Wallis and Futuna Western Sahara Yemen Zambia Zimbabwe Emaillast_img

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