Aurora Borealis

Timeline created by leslie5544
  • Dec 13, 1230

    First detailed record

    The first detailed record of the northern lights can be found in the Norweigan book, "The King's Mirror."
    Brekke, Pal. "Secrets of the northern lights: after centuries spent marveling at auroras' spectacular and fearful displays, people have solved many of their mysteries." Sky & Telescope Feb. 2013: 18+. Science in Context. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
  • Sun particles theory created

    Kristian Birkeland considers that charged particles from the sun cause the aurorae to light up. Others had though this as well, but Birkeland put his theory to the test in controlled experiments.
    Brekke, Pal. "Secrets of the northern lights: after centuries spent marveling at auroras' spectacular and fearful displays, people have solved many of their mysteries." Sky & Telescope Feb. 2013: 18+. Science in Context. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
  • Camera invented to properly capture aurorae

    Ole Krogness and Carl Stormer invented a camera that could copy the spatial characteristics of aurorae more precisely than any camera before it. It was used around the globe for almost fifty years.
    Burke, William J., and Alv Egeland. "Carl Stormer's auroral discoveries." Canadian Journal of Physics 90.8 (2012): 785+. Science in Context. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
  • Ring currents first suggested

    Carl Stormer discovered that his scientific calculations did not match up with his observations. From this, he suggested that aurorae patterns are affected by ring currents. This has been confirmed and is used frequently today.
    Burke, William J., and Alv Egeland. "Carl Stormer's auroral discoveries." Canadian Journal of Physics 90.8 (2012): 785+. Science in Context. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
  • Sound of aurorae discussed

    Linda Hasselstrom, an author from South Dakota, said that she observed/heard the aurorae. She claimed that she heard, "tinkling, like bells." Many others have heard a noise while observing the northern llights, but no one has yet recorded it.
    De Wire, Elinor. "When the heavens dance." Weatherwise Dec.-Jan. 1995: 18+. Science in Context. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
  • Northern lights visible in Texas

    In 2003, a large solar flare occured, causing the "northern" lights to be seen as far south as Texas. That was the largest flare in 12 years.
    Leslie, Mitch. "Fire in the sky." Science 302.5647 (2003): 961. Science in Context. Web. 12 Dec. 2013.
  • NASA launches THEMIS

    NASA launches THEMIS
    NASA launches the Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms (THEMIS) spacecraft to investigate further why the northern lights occur. Five sattelites were launched to veiw the aurorae from earth's magnetosphere.
    "Aurorae." Astronomy & Space: From the Big Bang to the Big Crunch. Gale, 2007. Science in Context. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.
    THEMIS Spacecraft Bus with Instruments. Digital image. THEMIS. N.p., n.d. Web. 11 Dec. 2013.
  • Observations reveal reason behind aurorae

    Observations lead to the conclusion that substorms are caused by magnetic reconnection. Magnetic reconnection is a process in which charged sun particles compress the Earth's magnetic field resulting in a change of shape. The sudden change causes particles to be flung to the Earth's poles, resulting in substorms. These substorms increase the brightness and intensity of the aurorae.
    Pendick, Daniel. "Auroral storm trigger confirmed." Astronomy Nov. 2008: 18. Science in Context. Web. 10 Dec. 2013.