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New Camera Snaps All-Sky Auroras in Full Color

• Wired.com
 

Normally, studying these shimmering phenomena means taking multiple images of an aurora, using different filters that block or image different wavelengths. Now, a camera with tunable liquid crystal filters can capture many colors at once, a team of space-weather researchers reports Nov. 29 in Optics Express.

Called NORUSCA II, the camera also takes pictures of the entire sky. Scientists are hoping that such precision aurora-imaging will help them better understand and classify the celestial light shows.

The team tested the sky-gazing camera at the Kjell Henriksen Observatory in Svalbard, Norway, during the auroral season of 2011 and 2012. On Jan. 24, 2012, an enormous solar flare flung a blob of charged particles in Earth’s direction.

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