Camera Captures Stunning Multi-Colored Aurora Caused by a Solar Storm

The European Space Agency (ESA) captured a video of a “violent mass of fast-moving plasma” that was spit out by the sun. This coronal mass ejection (CME) can cause interference with communications and GPS systems on Earth, but can also deliver some incredible light shows. The short video published by the ESA, and spotted by […]

Camera Captures Stunning Multi-Colored Aurora Caused by a Solar Storm

The European Space Agency (ESA) captured a video of a “violent mass of fast-moving plasma” that was spit out by the sun. This coronal mass ejection (CME) can cause interference with communications and GPS systems on Earth, but can also deliver some incredible light shows.

The short video published by the ESA, and spotted by CNET, shares a brief glimpse into a beautiful purple aurora which is more clearly visible during intense geomagnetic storms of this magnitude. According to the ESA, the Solar Storm took a few days to arrive at Earth after the initial mass of plasma was ejected into space by the sun.

Once it did, it lit up the sky and provided a brilliant multi-colored show.

The timelapse video above was created from images taken every minute during the period of intense auroral activity in the early hours of October 12 by an all-sky camera in Kiruna, Sweden which is part of ESA’s Space Weather Service Network. These cameras are fitted with a fish-eye lens to see horizon to horizon when pointed straight up in order to view as much of the sky as possible.

According to the ESA, the video is running at half-speed to highlight the intense auroral motion which starts with a mass of green swirling structures that are created when energetic particles in the solar wind collide with oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere. This then gives off light in the green range of the electromagnetic spectrum. The rarely photographed purple aurora is seen later in the video and is created as energetic particles strike ionic nitrogen in Earth’s atmosphere.

Scientists at the ESA say this phenomenon is not just beautiful, but vital to understanding the complex, and sometimes hazardous interactions between the Sun and Earth.

“The movement of this swirly structure in space and time is often referred to as auroral dynamics, and this is very important when studying the relationship between the ionosphere and magnetosphere, linked by lines of magnetic field,” Hannah Laurens, RHEA Space Weather Applications Scientist based at ESOC, explains. “The aurora is a manifestation of complex drivers operating in the distant magnetosphere which makes it a useful, and beautiful, tool with which to monitor space weather conditions.”

The data captured by the ESA and these cameras are used to provide timely information to anyone affected by the Sun’s outbursts like airline pilots, operators of spacecraft and power grids, or even hopeful aurora hunters.

The ESA has also stated that in 2027, it will launch a first-of-its-kind mission to monitor the sun from a unique vantage point. Studying the sun from the side, it will provide a stream of data that will warn of potentially hazardous regions before they roll into view from Earth. Details on the ESA’s investigations into space weather can be found on the organization’s website.

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Facebook to Rename Itself, Focus on Becoming a ‘Metaverse’ Company

Facebook is reportedly planning to change its company name next week as it focuses on becoming a metaverse company. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gone on the record in the past about making Facebook about more than social media. According to The Verge who spoke with a source with direct knowledge of the impending change, […]

Facebook to Rename Itself, Focus on Becoming a ‘Metaverse’ Company

Facebook is reportedly planning to change its company name next week as it focuses on becoming a metaverse company. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has gone on the record in the past about making Facebook about more than social media.

According to who spoke with a source with direct knowledge of the impending change, Zuckerberg has plans to more than just change the company name, but to reposition Facebook, Instagram, and its other entities under a new parent company much akin to how Google shifted under Alphabet in 2015.

What Facebook’s actual new company name will be is a closely-guarded secret according to The Verge, even among senior leadership. Facebook declined to comment about the publication’s coverage.

The reorganization of what is currently a social media company into something else follows Zuckerberg’s ambitions to create what he describes as a “metaverse” company. The metaverse as a concept was first described in a 1992 sci-fi novel and describes a virtual world where people interact through avatars. In some cases, the metaverse contains rules and societal norms that differed from the real world.

Zuckerberg has said that the metaverse is “going to be a big focus” for what he believes is the next chapter of the internet as it evolves and becomes more mobile. He has also said that he believes it’s a major step for Facebook as a company as well and was quoted as saying it would be “doubling down” in that area as a result.

“You can kind of think about this as an embodied internet that you’re inside of rather than just looking at,” Zuckerberg said earlier this year. “You’re basically gonna be able to do everything that you can on the internet today, as well as some things that don’t make sense on the internet today like dancing.”

From this perspective, Facebook’s acquisitions over the last several years — such as with VR platform Oculus and communications platform WhatsApp — make a lot of sense. Zuckerberg’s apparent vision for the future of his company is to untether users from the real world and instead supplant them into a fictional world of his company’s creation.


Image credits: Elements of header photo licensed via Depositphotos.

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