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Saturday, March 13, 2010

Aurora Season in Alaska and the Artic Circle!

March is aurora season in northern Alaska and many are now making the trek to the state to take-in the wonders of the space weather night skies [video]. Mt. Aurora, above the Poker Flats Research Range, is one of the better locations on Earth to spend time soaking-up the cold, clear night skies filled with the dancing colorful atmosphere.

During the winter season, scientists gather to conduct investigations and launch rockets at Poker Flats, Alaska into the aurora-filled night skies, (supported by Sounding Rockets Program Office at the Virginia NASA Wallops Flight Facility). Each rocket flight seeks more clues to the unique and colorful natural energy phenomena. In recent years, NASA scientists have theories as to the magnetic energy reconnections miles above the Earth whilst NASA space shuttle missions have viewed the Aurora Borealis from orbit.

Commercial space launch firm Virgin Galactic is considering a new spaceport in Kiruna, Sweden to fly tourists through the Aurora Borealis on a suborbital spaceflight perhaps in 2012 complete with a stay at the now world famous Ice Hotel. Americans planning flights on SpaceShipTwo (SS2) from Sweden should plan a $250,000 allowance per person for international flights, pre-space flight training, in country-travel and seasonal Ice Hotel lodging.

But for Blog readers with smaller budgets and interest in the Aurora Borealis, one of the more delightful and informative books on the topic is by Lucy Jago entitled: "The Northern Lights: The True Story of the Man Who Unlocked the Secrets of the Aurora Borealis." Jago's book would make for an excellent movie script - if your reading James Cameron!

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