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Date: 29 Mar 90 18:24:15 GMT
From:!swrinde!!!utgpu!utzoo!  (Henry Spencer)
Subject: Re: Aurora = Strange Flash of Light?

In article <> (John Webb) writes:
>> I've never seen any reference to an aurora producing something equivalent
>> to a "whole-sky flashbulb effect" ...
>    ... many well-verified observations of sudden flashes of light
>covering the entire sky exist. ...

One should remember that the Earth's magnetosphere is not the stable, rigid
affair often seen in early or excessively-elementary books.  It's in
constant motion, with large currents and flows of plasma all over the place,
and can do some very surprising things.  It's not inconceivable that once
in a while some event in the magnetosphere quite suddenly dumps particles
or current into the upper atmosphere over a wide area.  We are near a solar
maximum, with the solar wind strong and bursty, and the magnetosphere will
be boiling with activity.  I haven't heard of such an auroral phenomenon
being known, but if it is a relatively rare event that happens quite
suddenly, it could well have been missed.
Apollo @ 8yrs: one small step.|     Henry Spencer at U of Toronto Zoology
Space station @ 8yrs:        .| uunet!attcan!utzoo!henry

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