Satellites can record and collect important data but that is not all they can do. The Suomi NPP satellite with its multiple instruments can also capture images high above the Earth that we admire and use to study space weather. Back in the evening of October 4th, a solar flare erupted and shot particles of energy out of the sun which some of this energy was hurled towards the Earth. This energy collides with the outer atmosphere and affects our magnetic field, and this effect causes the Aurora Borealis also known as the Northern Lights to be seen in the Northern areas in Canada, Russia Alaska and other areas to the north. The image shown below was taken by the high resolution VIIRS. There are other images of Auroras taken by the International Space station as well.
A recent online article on a Nasa website mentions that the solar energy particles that strike our atmosphere has an almost fluid like wave effect over the Earth.
The Weather Vane has tools to help monitor the solar storms that create the Auroras, some of these solar storms can affect satellite communication, certain radio transmissions and in extreme cases power grids in Canada.
Here finally is the image captured by the Suomi NPP on October 8th, 2012
|Background and image credit NASA http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=79373|