Tuesday, 23 April, 2019

Strange 'Alien' Lights From NASA Aurora Experiment Looks Out Of This World

Alien Lights in Norway Were a NASA Test Not an Extraterrestrial Visit Strange and colorful light configurations after an aurora were part of a NASA rocket test. Credit NASA Wallops
Sandra Phillips | 10 April, 2019, 13:31

The weird display was created by a pair of sounding rockets which were launched from a space center in Norway.

Colorful clouds formed by the release of vapors from the two AZURE rockets allow scientists to measure auroral winds.

"We saw two orange dots rise into the sky and disappear", he said.

Auroras are spectacular light shows, but a recent display in the skies over northern Norway was out of this world - sort of. The missions will analyze the interactions of Earth's magnetic field lines and particles from space that bombard our planet, according to a NASA statement.

Two Black Brant XI-A sounding rockets were launched at 6:14 and 6:16 p.m. EDT on April 5 carrying scientific instruments for studying the energy exchange within an aurora.

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"These mixtures create colorful clouds that allow researchers to track the flow of neutral and charged particles, respectively", NASA explained past year, adding that its tracers would "pose no hazard to residents in the region".

The ionizing tracers (trimethylaluminum and a barium-strontium mixture) were released at altitudes of approximately 71 to 155 miles above Earth's surface and posed no immediate hazard to area residents, per NASA. By tracking the movement of these colorful clouds via ground-based photography and triangulating their moment-by-moment position in three dimensions, AZURE will provide valuable data on the vertical and horizontal flow of particles in two key regions of the ionosphere over a range of different altitudes.

Norwegian news website VOL reported that many calls were received by local police about the lights. "A short while later unusual lights and colorful, expanding clouds appeared I first did not have an explanation for".

From the ground, the dance of the northern lights, or aurora borealis, can look peaceful. Understanding The Area Separating Earth And Outer Space AZURE is part of a larger effort called The Grand Challenge Initiative - Cusp, an global collaboration of scientists that aims to study the ionosphere where the lines of the magnetic field bends and particles from Earth mixes with particles from outer space.

AZURE is supported through NASA's Sounding Rocket Program at the agency's Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia.

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