northern lights

aurora borealis, northern lights

Bringing Earth's light show down to earth

UI graduate student in physics and astronomy builds instrument to study how northern lights are produced
Jim Schroeder, a graduate student in physics and astronomy, has built an instrument to study the physical principles that produce the northern lights. Schroeder will use his $126,000 fellowship from the National Science Foundation to test his instrument this month at UCLA.
A solar prominence erupts into the sun's atmosphere, or corona. Credit: NASA.

UI-led team confirms 'gusty winds' in space turbulence

Study is first direct measurement of its kind in the lab
Why is the atmosphere of the sun far hotter than the surface of the sun? The answer, scientists believe, lies in the concept of turbulence, a phenomenon directly measured in the laboratory for the first time by a research team led by the University of Iowa.
Sun-Earth interaction drawing

An astronomical illumination

UI’s Scudder makes first observations of process linked to northern lights
When you think of the process that enables the northern lights, think of spaghetti becoming untangled, says University of Iowa researcher Jack Scudder. He and his colleagues have reached a milestone in describing how the northern lights work by way of a process called “magnetic reconnection.”