Skygazing Spectacular: Aurora Trivia

Auroras are brilliant displays of light visible in the night sky, caused by electromagnetic disturbances created by solar wind. The most well known and brilliant displays of aurora are the aurora borealis (norther lights) and aurora australis (southern lights) which are visible at each of the Earth’s poles.

Auroras materialize when solar wind from the sun’s upper atmosphere, called the corona, meets our Earth’s upper atmosphere, called the ionosphere. Solar particle interact with particles in our atmosphere, resulting in particle flouresence. Different atoms or molecules give off different colors, gives the aurora its hue. Nitrogen, for example, produces a red hue, while oxygen gives off a green color.

Usually electromagnetic forces push auroras to one of the Earth’s poles, but during rare geomagnetic storms, aurorae can be seen at latitudes where it is not normally visible. Earlier this month we had a very rare event indeed, with the first G5 solar storm since 2003, and the 27th largest solar flare ever recorded!

If you were lucky (or determined) enough to be in a dark area with cloud-free skies during this event, you may have been able to witness this aurora yourself! If not, you can check out some of the photos that were captured around the globe of this rare event. June 6th may also provide a chance for another light show, as the sun’s rotation will bring us face to face once more with its most active sunspot.

If all this big sky activity has gotten you excited to learn more, you should definitely join us for this month’s trivia event! We’ll have lots of astronomy questions, as well as neuroscience, and general fun knowledge questions.

Trivia How-To: The bot will start firing off questions at 11:00 AM EST on 5/26 and continue until 11:00 AM EST on 5/28, at which point things will finish with a power hour till noon. Submit your answers by typing them into the chat box. Optional: you may submit answers privately by messaging @inquizitor if you do not want other players to see your responses. To do this, type /pm inquizitor before your message.

Bonus info is available in your in-game notifications. Good luck!