Friday, November 30, 2012

Earth's Auroras: 1st-Ever Hyperspectral Images

First-Ever Hyperspectral Images of Earth's Auroras: New Camera Provides Tantalizing Clues of New Atmospheric Phenomenon

ScienceDaily (Nov. 29, 2012) — Hoping to expand our understanding of auroras and other fleeting atmospheric events, a team of space-weather researchers designed and built NORUSCA II, a new camera with unprecedented capabilities that can simultaneously image multiple spectral bands, in essence different wavelengths or colors, of light. The camera was tested at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory (KHO) in Svalbard, Norway, where it produced the first-ever hyperspectral images of auroras -- commonly referred to as "the Northern (or Southern) Lights" -- and may already have revealed a previously unknown atmospheric phenomenon.

The aurora as seen as a color composite image from the NORUSCA II camera. Three bands were combined to make the image. Each band was assigned a different color -- red, green, and blue -- to enhance the features of the aurora for analysis. (Credit: Optics Express)
Details on the camera and the results from its first images were published November 29 in the Optical Society's (OSA) open-access journal Optics Express.

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Sources: Optical Society of America, .


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