n-commentSpace Physics

The Aurora by Night and by Day

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Science  31 May 1996:
Vol. 272, Issue 5266, pp. 1256
DOI: 10.1126/science.272.5266.1256b


A new satellite called Polar, launched last February, brings a new capability to aurora-watching from orbit: the ability to see the aurora in the daylit hemisphere. By screening out the effects of sunlight on the upper atmosphere, Polar reveals a complete ring of aurora around the pole. The images suggest that the aurora dumps even more energy into the atmosphere by day than by night.