The new aurora was discovered after it was spotted in a two-decades-old video. Now termed as “diffused auroral erasers” it was seen as a background-like glow that goes along with a sharper light that is traditionally linked with auroras, these lights go dark and then suddenly reappear when the rare natural phenomenon takes place.
Allison Jaynes, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Iowa and study co-author, said “The biggest thing about these erasers that we didn’t know before but know now is that they exist. It also raises the question of whether if it is a super rare thing or a common phenomenon that has never been noticed earlier.”
“Knowing they exist means there is a process that is creating them,” Jaynes continued, “and it may be a process that we haven’t started to look at yet because we never knew they were happening until now.”
As science explains, aurora takes place when solar-charged particles travel down to come in contact with the earth’s magnetic bubble and hence form shining lights in the sky. In a more specific explanation, auroras are formed when charged particles from the sun meet the gases in the earth’s atmosphere and release energy, as a result, beautiful lights are generated in the sky.
Some of the recent examples of solar particles reacting with gases to form beautiful auroras include the image captured by the ISS last August where an aurora met airglow and allowed for a stunning image. Another auroral happening was termed as “dunes” and was spotted by Finnish researchers and occurred in an atmospheric wave channel.
The diffuse auroral eraser study was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research Space Physics.