HomeSpace NewsGlowing 'auroral beads' appear strung across the night sky. Here's what creates...

Glowing ‘auroral beads’ appear strung across the night sky. Here’s what creates them.

Spacecraft studying Earth’s magnetosphere collectively observed how solar particles reach the upper atmosphere and create glowing auroral beads in the night sky. (Image credit: ESA/ATG medialab)

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

Known as auroral beads, these round auroras appear in groups dotted across the sky, whereas 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 triggers auroral beads on Earth’s dayside, or sun-facing side, offering new clues about how these unique auroras form.

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