In the light of the aurora

Optical auroral research in northernmost Europe

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The aurora, or northern lights, is the most variable light phenomenon in the sky and the result of physical processes taking place in near-Earth space. The colours, shapes, intensities, locations and movements of auroral forms give us information about these processes. Ground-based optical studies are superior for high-resolution measurements and to distinguish temporal and spatial effects. Arctic Europe is a most convenient place to study the aurora. Many instruments and research facilities have been placed here. The Network for Groundbased Optical Auroral Research in the Arctic Region is supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers and consists of all research institutions in northern Norway, Sweden, Finland and on theKola Peninsula active in optical auroral research. This reportintroduces optical aurora and optical research methods, research institutions and research infrastructure. It also describes the activities of the network: workshops, mobility programme and scientific results.




This is a report written by partners of the Network for Groundbased Optical Auroral Research in the Arctic Region. The network was formed in response to the Arctic Cooperation Programme 2006–2008 call, issued by the Nordic Council of Ministers. It consists of all institutions in Svalbard and Northern Fennoscandia active in research on the aurora with optical methods. The aim of the report is to introduce auroral research, in particular what can be achieved by optical methods, research groups, facilities and instrumentation in the region, as well as giving an account of the activities and scientific results of the network. The network was awarded a grant in 2009 to continue its activities.


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