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Astronomy - Popular Astronomy | Aurora - Observing and Recording Nature's Spectacular Light Show


Observing and Recording Nature's Spectacular Light Show

Bone, Neil

2007, X, 183 p.

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  • Provides a concise description of auroral forms and how to record them, illustrated with color images of recent displays
  • Includes details of 'Space Weather' forecasting websites, how to interpret and use the information they provide, and how to anticipate auroral activity
  • Tells the stories behind major auroral storms which many readers may have witnessed (e.g., the huge "Hallowe'en" storm of 2003)
  • The only serious book about aurora written for practical but non-professional observers

The uniquely beautiful light display of an aurora is the result of charged particles colliding with tenuous atmospheric oxygen and nitrogen, more than 60 miles above the Earth, when the magnetosphere is disturbed by changes in the solar wind.

Often - and incorrectly - regarded as being confined to high northern and southern latitudes, major auroral displays are visible from even the southern USA and the south of England, and occur perhaps twenty times in each eleven-year sunspot cycle.

Major auroral storms always cause great interest and excitement in the media, and of course provide practical astronomers with the opportunity to study and image them.

This book describes the aurora from the amateur observational viewpoint, discusses professional studies of auroral and geomagnetic phenomena to put amateur work in context, and explains how practical observers can go about observing and recording auroral displays.

Content Level » Popular/general

Keywords » Aurora - Bone - Observing

Related subjects » Astronomy, Observations and Techniques - Extraterrestrial Physics, Space Sciences - Popular Astronomy

Table of contents 

Atmospheric Phenomena.- Causes of the Aurora.- Auroral Forecasting.- Observing the Aurora.- Historical Aurorae and More Recent Events.- Aurora Elsewhere.- Early observers and theorists of the aurora classed it along with other atmospheric phenomena as a “meteor.” In common with many of his other ideas that remained unchallenged until well into the sixteenth century, Aristotle’s fourth century BC view of these events being the result of ignition of rising vapors belowthe innermost celestial sphere prevailed for some time. An alternative, proposed by the Roman philosopher Seneca in his Questiones Naturales, was that aurorae were flames viewed through chasmata—cracks in the heavenly firmament..- Noctilucent Clouds and other Phenomena.

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