# video | Amateur astronomers from Finland have discovered a new Northern Lights

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The northern lights have long fascinated the public and experts. But perhaps the most surprising thing is that there are different types of this atmospheric phenomenon. On January 29, the University of Helsinki announced that a group of amateur astronomers had discovered a new form of northern lights called "dunes". This form of oxygen atoms, which radiate from a stream of charged particles emanating from the sun, at a height of around a hundred kilometers. On the outside, the look really resembles waves or sand dunes. The work can be found in the magazine AGU Advances.

You have to admit that you can't see such a rare atmospheric phenomenon every day

What is the Northern Lights?

Aurora is the atmospheric phenomenon that occurs when charged particles – such as electrons – are emitted by the sun and sent from our planet's magnetic field to the poles of the earth. There they interact with gases in the atmosphere, including oxygen and nitrogen, and increase the energy of these gases. It is this energy that later manifests itself in the form of light. Minna Palmrot, a professor of computer physics in space at the University of Helsinki, told The Guardian that the Northern Lights are indeed neon sky lamps.

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Aurora's incredible beauty of atmospheric phenomena

The work of amateur astronomers who discovered a new form of this atmospheric phenomenon is what scientists call an astonishing discovery. The fact is that it was born quite tall – about a hundred kilometers – and this area has not been practically explored in the past because it is very difficult to observe the area that separates the electrically neutral part of the atmosphere from the ionosphere. The distance between the waves is about 45 kilometers, according to researchers. A total of 7 dunes were recorded.

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How did the "dunes" come about?

According to Palmrot, “dunes” are created in analogy to waves in the water when we throw a stone into a pond. The green glow occurs due to the heterogeneity of the distribution of oxygen atoms in the mesosphere, which leads to disturbances in the atmosphere. However, waves often move vertically upwards in the atmosphere – and there are many. In addition, the waves have different frequencies, lengths and amplitudes. So if you see something very even like dunes, there has to be an active mechanism that makes them do it. This mechanism can turn out to be a mesospheric channel through which a particular wave is filtered and bent, allowing it to move horizontally between two layers in the atmosphere.

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In general, an unusual atmospheric phenomenon of the "dune" can occur when the temperature of one layer of the atmosphere is slightly higher than the temperature of both layers above and below. As the researchers write in their work, such an unusual appearance is caused by waves that create peaks and valleys in oxygen density.