Night skies are getting brighter and brighter in Canada's North as the June solstice approaches, making it increasingly difficult to see the aurora. While our Yellowknife observatory takes a short break until dark skies return in August, our nightly live broadcast will feature a series of guest cameras from the University of Calgary's network of science cameras (available in standard broadcast resolution only), starting with Fort Smith, N.W.T.
Tune in throughout the summer to compare the different locations, and see if you can spot the subtle differences in the colours and shapes of the aurora due to differences in the shape of Earth's magnetic field at each location.
A coronal mass ejection is an ejection of energetic plasma from the Sun that can travel at speeds up to 10 million kilometres an hour.
Fact number 2
Solar storms can disrupt radio transmissions, disable communications satellites, cause GPS systems to malfunction and even lead to power outages like the 1989 blackout in Quebec.
Fact number 3
The solar wind flows from the Sun out into the solar system past Pluto.
Fact number 4
Since the International Space Station orbits at almost the same altitude as the auroras, astronauts on board see auroras at eye level.
Fact number 5
Our atmosphere protects us from solar radiation on Earth, but aircraft crews on transpolar flights and astronauts receive higher doses of radiation during intense solar activity.
Fact number 6
The Earth's magnetic field reaches thousands of kilometres out into space.
Fact number 7
Auroras can also be found on other planets. Jupiter and Saturn both have auroral ovals on both hemispheres. Venus, Uranus and Neptune have irregular auroras.
Fact number 8
Auroras typically occur between 100 and 300 km in the atmosphere, but can sometimes stretch as high as 600 km.
Fact number 9
Launched in 1962, Alouette-1, Canada's first satellite, made our country the third nation in space. Alouette-1 studied the ionosphere, the electrically charged layer of the upper atmosphere that can affect long-distance radio transmission.
Watch the dance of the northern lights nightly from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. This live webcam streams the aurora borealis from August to May through a collaboration between the University of Calgary, the City of Yellowknife, Astronomy North and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). More