The Indian Astronomical Observatory (IAO) above Mount Saraswati captured a rare phenomenon as a geomagnetic storm struck Earth's magnetic field, creating unique auroras.
Why in News?
- The auroras are normally seen at higher altitudes in parts of Alaska, Norway, and other countries.
- This was the first time that the aurora was captured on camera in India by the Indian Astronomical Observatory.
- The 360-degree camera atop the IAO in Ladakh Hanle captured the mysterious phenomenon, which is triggered by an interaction between the plasma particles hurled by the Sun and Earth's magnetic field.
- How is it formed? The sun is ejecting charged particles from its corona, creating solar wind. When that wind slams into Earth's ionosphere, the aurora is born.
- In the Northern Hemisphere, the phenomenon is called the northern lights (aurora borealis), while in the Southern Hemisphere, it's called the southern lights (aurora australis).
- The hemispheric asymmetry of the aurora is due in part to the sun's magnetic field interfering with Earth's magnetic field.
- Another aurora-like occurrence on Earth is STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement).
- It is a glowing atmospheric phenomenon, but it looks slightly different from its undulating auroral counterparts.
- Like the northern and southern lights, STEVE is also visible from lower latitudes, closer to the equator, than the auroras.
Q1) What is a magnetic field?
A magnetic field is a vector field that describes the magnetic influence on moving electric charges, electric currents, and magnetic materials. A moving charge in a magnetic field experiences a force perpendicular to its own velocity and to the magnetic field.