Auroras - Living with a Star
Premieres Tuesday February 11, 2003

Program Description
On cold, clear nights the aurora appears to awestruck spectators in dramatic shapes and colors - red, green, white, yellow and purple. The Aurora Color TV Project's special low-light camera is one of the only devices in the world which can capture its fast-moving dance in real-time. For nearly two decades, ACTP researchers have used this instrument to record and analyze the Northern Lights. Now they share some of their most dramatic images.

Image courtesy of Jan Curtis

Image courtesy of
Alaskan Native Heritage Center, Anchorage

Alaskan Natives tell tales from their diverse communities: in some the auroras are dangerous, ready to swoop down and chase you if you dare to whistle at them. For others, auroras are a symbol of humanity's connection to the spirit world above.

In the flight deck of a NASA Shuttle, Franklin Chang-Diaz - an astrophysicist and 7-time astronaut - describes what it's like to fly through the aurora. During his most recent mission, STS-111, he floated around Earth during an EVA and saw the Southern Lights, separated only by the thin shield of his visor. Like this program, it's a view of the aurora informed both by science and a respect for natural beauty.

Franklin Chang Diaz, NASA

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