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Dancing Aurora Before AZURE’s Launch | by NASA Goddard Photo and Video
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Dancing Aurora Before AZURE’s Launch

An aurora danced across the night sky prior to the launch of the AZURE sounding rockets at the Andøya Space Center in Norway.


During their flight on April 5, these two sounding rockets deployed gas tracers — made of substances similar to those in fireworks — to create colorful clouds that allow researchers to track the flow of neutral and charged particles with the auroral wind. This helps scientists better understand the exchange of energy within an aurora.


AZURE is one of nine missions launching as part of the Grand Challenge Initiative — Cusp, a series of international sounding rocket missions to study Earth’s geomagnetic cusp between 2018 and 2020. The cusp is one of the few places on Earth where particles from the solar wind have easy access to our atmosphere.


Read more about the launch:


Image credits: NASA/Lee Wingfield


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NASA Goddard Space Flight Center enables NASA’s mission through four scientific endeavors: Earth Science, Heliophysics, Solar System Exploration, and Astrophysics. Goddard plays a leading role in NASA’s accomplishments by contributing compelling scientific knowledge to advance the Agency’s mission.


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Taken on April 5, 2019