I thought it was interesting to learn the origin of the words ‘Aurora Borealis’ today. The Roman goddess of dawn is named Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind is Boreas. If you’ve seen the Aurora Borealis, you know it’s an incredible light show in the sky. According to the Geophysical Institute, there is always some aurora at some place on Earth. However, that doesn’t mean we’ll be able to see it often when we look at the sky.
That is what makes this bottled up Aurora Borealis so special. Scientists and other people who work at NASA are always trying to come up with ways to make astronomy interesting for the new generation of explorers. I have a feeling that when Mars One lands four people on Mars in 2023 and then more astronauts every two years after that to populate the permanent colony, there won’t be any trouble getting kids interested in space.
Until that day comes, this Aurora Borealis in a glass jar might spark some interest. It was created by NASA research scientist Guillame Gronoff. He wanted to find a way to recreate the Aurora light show that happens in the sky. According to the NASA website, this is made possible by a device called a Planeterrella. It works by combining a magnetic field, charged particles and a sphere. The creator, Guillame, said:
It recreates the atmosphere of the Earth at 80 km in altitude when an aurora is occurring. The aurora is created when particles, originally from the sun, precipitate into the atmosphere. For example, we can simulate the aurora at Neptune and Uranus, when their magnetic fields are directly pointing towards the sun.
This man-made Aurora Borealis will hopefully teach students about solar wind, electricity and magnetic fields. You can see this glass jar full of wonder at the Virginia Air & Space Center. Even in these pictures, it’s gorgeous!
The Aurora Borealis In A Big Glass Jar
(Click Images To Enlarge)
Via: [My Modern Met]