Mission Control Sunday 2023

The Northern Lights : A Rough Guide

Seeing the northern lights is high on a lot of people’s bucket list, but the aurora boreal is can be an elusive phenomenon. Do you really have to travel to the frozen northern parts of the planet to see them, or can they be seen closer to home? What causes the aurora? And what should you expect? Do the lights really look they do in pictures, or are those epic visuals down to fancy cameras and photoshop trickery?

Prof Jim Wild will guide you through the science and the hype in this exploration of the magical northern lights.

Jim Wild is the Professor of Space Physics at Lancaster University where he studies the space environment and the links between the Sun, the Earth and other planets.This includes the physics behind the aurora borealis and the impact of space weather on human technology.As well as exploiting an international flotilla of ground stations and satellites, this research has taken him on adventures to the high arctic to carry out experimental field work.As a passionate science communicator,Jim has established himself as a popular speaker for public audiences and regularly contributes to print and broadcast media.He is a member of the UK Space Environment Impacts Expert Group, an independent committee that that reviews current and emerging risks posed by space weather and provides advice toGovernment Departments.He has previously held a Science in Society Fellowship supported by the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council and is a recipient of the Royal Astronomical Society’s James Dungey Lecture prize.

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