Northern Lights for all as AuroraMAX Goes Live

©CSA

Aurora

If you're lucky enough to live in an area that sees the Northern Lights, or the Aurora Borealis, then you know how magically it can be to see the dance of light in the night sky. For those who don't get to see the Northern Lights the Canadian Space Agency and its partners now brings you the light show live to your computer through the AuroraMAX project web site.

Auroras occur when charged particles from the sun collide with atoms and molecules in the Earth's upper atmosphere. The energy produced by these collisions is released in the form of light. Auroras are most common in the Polar regions where the Earth's magnetic fields intersect the planet.

AuroraMAX is a five-year educational and public outreach program that features a live webcast of the Northern Lights from the AuroraMAX Observatory in Yellowknife. The collaborative project includes the University of Calgary, the City of Yellowknife, Astronomy North and the Canadian Space Agency. AuroraMAX was designed to raise awareness of the science of the Northern Lights and how the Sun's relationship with the Earth can affect our daily lives. Viewers can follow the intensity and frequency of the aurora borealis leading up to the Solar Maximum which is scheduled to peak in 2013. The Solar Maximum is the most active period of the Sun's 11 year cycle.

Other related current and future science programs include the Canadian Geospace Monitoring Program, THEMIS and ePOP on CASSIOPE.