Reconnection: Solar Wind Breaches the Earth's Magnetic Shield
on December 4, 2003
The Far Ultraviolet camera aboard the IMAGE spacecraft captured this view of a proton aurora (the bright spot near the center of the view) as well as the ring of the electron aurora. The protons for this aurora came from the incoming solar wind. They made it though the Earth's magnetic shield in a magnetic reconnection event higher in the magnetosphere which was detected by the Cluster satellite. Note: A 'corner' appears in the data in the beginning as the IMAGE spacecraft moves into a position where it can view the entire north polar region.