Earth  Sun  ID: 13687

NASA Spacecraft Uncover Mystery Behind Auroral Beads

A special type of aurora, draped east-west across the night sky like a glowing pearl necklace, is helping scientists better understand the science of auroras and their powerful drivers out in space. Known as auroral beads, these lights often show up just before large auroral displays, which are caused by electrical storms in space called substorms. Until now, scientists weren’t sure if auroral beads are somehow connected to other auroral displays as a phenomenon in space that precedes substorms, or if they are caused by disturbances closer to Earth’s atmosphere.

But powerful new computer models, combined with observations from NASA’s Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions during Substorms – THEMIS – mission, have provided the first direct evidence of the events in space that lead to the appearance of these beads, and demonstrated the important role they play in our local space environment.

Source Material


Joy Ng (USRA)
Mara Johnson-Groh (Wyle Information Systems)

Kareem Sorathia (Johns Hopkins University/APL)
Slava Merkin (Johns Hopkins University/APL)
Evgeny Panov (Space Research Institute, Austrian Academy of Sciences)

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NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

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SVS >> Plasma
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Ionosphere/Magnetosphere Particles >> Aurorae
SVS >> Auroral Substorm
SVS >> Auroral Storms
NASA Science >> Earth
NASA Science >> Sun
GCMD >> Earth Science >> Sun-earth Interactions >> Ionosphere/Magnetosphere Dynamics >> Aurorae
SVS >> Aurora
SVS >> Auroral Beads

GCMD keywords can be found on the Internet with the following citation: Olsen, L.M., G. Major, K. Shein, J. Scialdone, S. Ritz, T. Stevens, M. Morahan, A. Aleman, R. Vogel, S. Leicester, H. Weir, M. Meaux, S. Grebas, C.Solomon, M. Holland, T. Northcutt, R. A. Restrepo, R. Bilodeau, 2013. NASA/Global Change Master Directory (GCMD) Earth Science Keywords. Version