January | Polar Night and Aurora
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Studying Auroras with Hearts in the Ice and Fred Sigernes
January 14th @ 12pm eastern
From September 2019 to May 2021 Sunniva Sorby and Hilde Strom spent a total of 18 months living in a remote trappers cabin called “Bamsebu” located in Svalbard, isolated and 140 km from the closest neighbour. Throughout the time, they took part in over a dozen citizen science projects, including observing the auroras. They’ll share their experiences during the long polar nights, observing and studying the incredible nightly shows.
Also joining to talk some aurora science will be Fred Sigernes. Fred is a full Professor in optics and atmospheric research at the University Centre in Svalbard (UNIS) and chief of the Kjell Henriksen Observatory. His main expertise is spectroscopy with focus on aurora, and he recently helped develop a new app for forecasting the appearance of auroras.
Aurorasaurus, Auroras, and You!
January 27th @ 1pm eastern
What are the Northern Lights and how do you know when is the best time to see them? How can you make contributions to NASA science? You will be introduced to the beautiful basics of the physics that cause the aurora borealis, how you can participate, and how scientists are using both satellite data and information from the public to figure out where and when they are best seen. At this talk, we’ll discuss this new technology, as well as learn about the Sun, magnetic fields, and glitter by putting the Northern Lights in the spotlight. From this real-life example, we can see how everyone can contribute, and how new discoveries can be made in the process.
Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald works remotely for NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center from her hometown of Walla Walla. She leads a global citizen science project called Aurorasaurus (http://www.aurorasaurus.org/), which uses citizen science and social media to predict the Northern and Southern Lights. In 2018 MacDonald announced the discovery of a new aurora called STEVE (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement). Dr. Elizabeth MacDonald has been studying the glitter of the Northern Lights for 25 years, and it never ceases to amaze her.