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The Spring 2011 issue of The Earth Scientist is focused on modernizing seismology education. Thanks to IRIS, you can download this issue for free as a pdf. Print copies are available in our online store.

Is there an Aurora Today?

Northern Hemisphere

Estimated Electrical Power - Northern & Southern Auroral Ovals

The power levels shown here are estimated from observations made by NOAA/TIROS of high-velocity electrons and positive ions raining down over the auroral oval. These electrons are responsible for the auroral lights. All of the energy of these particles is eventually deposited into the Earth's upper atmosphere. However, the energy of these particles is only about 10-30% of the total energy flowing into the atmosphere along the auroral oval. The remainder is deposited by up to million-ampere electric currents as they heat the upper atmosphere. During times of high activity, the power deposited can easily exceed the sum of all the electrical power generated in the United States over the same time interval.

Southern Hemisphere

Magnetospheric Response: Voltage Across the Polar Cap

This derived quantity provided by scientists from Rice University measures the solar wind energy input to the magnetosphere that drives magnetospheric convection. It appears as an electric potential imposed across the polar ionosphere. This estimate does not account for time delays such as those imposed by friction between the ionosphere and the neutral atmosphere.



Space Weather

Space Weather Today

Last modified September 18, 2007 by Randy Russell.

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