Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon that has long attracted the attention of scientists and astronomy enthusiasts. They are observed as flickering colored ribbons in the sky and are the result of the interaction of charged particles with the Earth’s atmosphere. However, researchers from Arizona State University have discovered a new type of aurora borealis that is invisible to the human eye.
This discovery was made through satellite observations in the infrared. The researchers installed infrared instruments on near-Earth satellites and discovered that there is another type of aurora borealis that is only visible in the infrared. This invisible shimmering aurora is produced by the interaction of energetic cosmic particles and carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The main difference of this invisible aurora borealis from the usual one is its inaccessibility for observation by the naked eye. It does not create colorful celestial “shows” and remains unnoticed by humans. Nevertheless, thanks to the new discovery scientists got new means for studying aurora borealis and deeper understanding of processes taking place in the upper layers of atmosphere.
According to Katrina Bossert, one of the researchers, their research offers a new way to observe the Earth’s aurora from space. She also notes that different auroral emissions can be associated with different altitudes and particle energies. This discovery extends our knowledge of the aurora borealis and helps us better understand the interaction of the upper atmosphere with space.
It is interesting to note that the Earth’s atmosphere has a layered structure, where the lowest and densest layer is called the troposphere. This layer is near the Earth’s surface and has a direct influence on the weather. The thinnest layers of the atmosphere are at the top, in the thermosphere and ionosphere, which overlap each other at 80 to 700 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. It is in these layers that the colorful auroras we know usually occur.