Glowing ‘auroral beads’ appear strung across the night sky. This is what she creates.

Spacecraft studying Earth’s magnetosphere jointly observed how solar particles reach the upper atmosphere and create glowing aurora borealis in the night sky. Credit: ESA/ATG media lab

A cohort of telescopes captured a special type of aurora that hung across the night sky like a glowing jeweled necklace, helping astronomers better understand the mechanics behind these beautiful light shows.

Known as aurora borealis, this round auroras appear in groups scattered across the sky, while more traditional auroras appear flatter and more elongated. A group of 13 spacecraft, including the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Cluster mission, observed the process that creates aurora borealis on Earth’s day side, or sun side, and offers new clues as to how these unique auroras form.


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