Don’t peek at the answer until you’ve given this a good try! Then, scroll down a bit and the truth will be revealed to you.
What in the world is it?
Blips on a radar screen? Well, no, not exactly. What you see here is a series of satellite images of Earth’s polar regions surrounded by the aurora. Scientists know that Earth’s North and South Poles light up at night with auroras because a “solar wind” of electrified gas continually flows outward from the Sun at high speed in all directions, including toward the Earth. It was once believed though, that the northern and southern lights mirrored one another whenever they occurred. But recently, however, NASA and university scientists looking at satellite images of the Earth’s northern and southern auroras were surprised to find they aren’t mirror images of each other. Just look carefully at the series of images shown here. The are near simultaneous images of the northern (left) and southern (right) aurora on October 23, 2002. White dots indicate the geographic poles. The “12” at the top indicates noon (the direction toward the sun), and “0” at the bottom indicates midnight, (the direction away from the sun). Likewise, the “6” indicates dawn or morning side of the Earth, while “18” indicates dusk or evening side of the Earth, thus placing the auroras on a 24 hour clock face.