Later this month space physicist Chris Fallen plans to visit the HAARP facility based at Copper River in Alaska to conduct several experiments which will create an artificial aurora in the night sky . The experiment will involve pulsing the Alaskan high powered HAARP transmitter array to create a focused beam of radio waves which will travel into the upper atmosphere and create an ‘artificial glow’ , similar to the Northern Lights . The project is called the Gakona HAARPoon 2017 .
The artificial aurora is created when particles in the ionosphere are excited by the HAARP beam and become ionized , they then emit light . The colour of the emitted light depends on the chemical constituents of the gases or particles floating in the ionosphere , collectively known as plasma . Plasma is generally a mixture of charged particles (-ve and +ve) and neutral particles .
The Northern Lights are a natural phenomena which happens when charged particles originating mainly from the sun (solar wind) collide with similarly charged particles trapped in the Earth’s magnetosphere . The magnetospheric plasma is ionized and emits light , the solar wind forces the plasma into the Earth’s atmosphere causing the aurora .
As plasma strikes the Earth’s magnetic field lines it becomes confined . The plasma then travels along the field lines and converges at the Poles where it enters the Earth’s atmosphere causing a release of visible energy .
Furthermore the plasma travels along the magnetic field lines in a circular motion , an effect known as cyclotron resonance . This effect also generates heat and is therefore useful for the production of energy , it is used in Tokamak fusion reactors .
Back to the HAARPoon , as mentioned earlier the project aims to fire a directed electromagnetic beam into the ionosphere to excite plasma particles and create an ‘artificial glow’ .
An electromagnetic beam fired into matter such as plasma can be either reflected , refracted (bend) , or diffracted (bend around) the plasma , in fact an electromagnetic beam can behave in a similar way to a beam of light .
Under certain conditions the ionosphere will also reflect the electromagnetic beam back to Earth . When an electromagnetic beam strikes plasma the absorbed energy causes the plasma to oscillate , the plasma oscillation then partially transmits the same frequency of electromagnetic radiation . This effect was first discovered by Marconi and enabled the first transatlantic wireless transmission in 1901 , in fact the the ionosphere is extremely important for modern radio communication systems . By ‘bouncing’ a radio signal between the Earth and the ionosphere a signal can zig-zag right around the Earth .
The reflective effect of the ionosphere is dependent on many variables including the density of charged particles at any given level . At night the ionosphere is also more dense making it more reflective .
Part 2 – Lights in the Sky coming soon !