Friday the 31st saw Dr Gabrielle Provan give us a talk entitled “Northern Lights Throughout The Solar System”. The talk was well received and there were many questions answered to members’ satisfaction.
She explained what the Northern Lights were and went on to inform us that it wasn’t until the late 1800s that scientists started to understand these fantastic displays. She talked us through the science of the Northern Lights and how they are modulated by solar activity and planetary magnetism.
She showed us aurora on the planets Jupiter and Saturn and played us recordings of what they sound like. They were very different from each other. The information tells us about planetary magnetic fields, solar wind and habitability.
They have recorded aurora on Uranus and Neptune and a question was asked if this was a method of detecting a possible ninth planet. She said this could be a method. She finished her talk with a display using a planeterrella machine, creating artificial auroras. This was fascinating and provoked many questions.