Simulation of Auroras
August 21, 2013 1:38 PM   Subscribe

The Planeterrella "The planeterrella is inspired by experiments carried out at the turn of the last century by the Norwegian physicist, Kristian Birkeland, who first described how the Northern Lights were caused by the solar wind’s interaction with the Earth’s magnetic field. In a series of experiments, Birkeland aimed a beam of electrons at a magnetized sphere (terrella) inside a glass vacuum chamber and succeeded in recreating the ethereal glow of the aurora(video in french) at the sphere’s poles."

The linked site recreates and redefines Birkland's experiments, in a series of studies led by Jean Lilensten. NASA's Langely research centre has a planeterrella as well.
posted by dhruva (2 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
This is very cool, I had no idea this existed, or was so (relatively) simple to do. I wonder if this is something a dedicated hobbyist could replicate at home?

I'm also very charmed by the heaps of typically French errors in the English in that first link. "Developped", "électrons", "allowed him to see also", etc.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:23 PM on August 21, 2013

Warning: the first link has (pretty chill) autoplay music.
posted by theodolite at 2:36 PM on August 21, 2013

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