Physics Dept Seminar


October 4, Tuesday (*SPECIAL DAY*)


Fantastic auroral forms & where to find them


Dr. Bea Gallardo-Lacourt

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

(Terrestrial Physics, Host: Perry)


Time: 11:45 am - 12:45 pm with 11:30 am teatime

Room: ECE 202


Throughout centuries, people gazing at the sky have been amazed by the aurora and have tried to understand the formation of these phenomena. The start of the space exploration era brought major advancements in our understanding of the aurora and space physics in general. We now understand that these auroral forms are not only beautiful, but also help visualize important physical processes in a highly coupled system: the magnetosphere-ionosphere system. Within the last few years, the deployment of new ground-based observatories added new information about auroral dynamics. In addition, the improvement and reduction of cost of commercial cameras resulted in greater numbers of experienced auroral citizen scientists. In this talk, we will review some basic concepts of space plasma physics and the latest understanding of an auroral-related phenomenon discovered by citizen scientists: STEVE. In addition, we will discuss some of the new techniques used to study the aurora, as well as how these tools can be easily implemented in other fields.

A picture containing water, mountain, night sky

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STEVE and the picket fence observed at Berg Lake, British Columbia, Canada (Image credit: Robert Downie)