In order to better understand the impact auroras have on Earth's atmosphere, NASA launched four rockets carrying experiments were launched on January 26, 2015. This is part of a composite image of all four rockets, done in 30-second exposures. See the full image below.

Image: NASA/Jamie Adkins

Here's how NASA describes the project:

To help answer some [of the questions about how auroras interact with meteorological processes and the atmosphere] NASA suborbital sounding rockets carrying university-developed experiments — the Mesosphere-Lower Thermosphere Turbulence Experiment (M-TeX) and Mesospheric Inversion-layer Stratified Turbulence (MIST) — were launched into auroras from the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska. The experiments explore the Earth's atmosphere's response to auroral, radiation belt and solar energetic particles and associated effects on nitric oxide and ozone.


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