Science: Auroras for Study

In the sedate British journal Nature a reputable scientist last week made a fantastic proposal—to create artificial auroras or "northern lights" in the thin upper atmosphere by means of radio beams sent up from Earth. The proponent was Physics Professor V.A. Bailey of the University of Sydney, Australia.

Laboratory tests with discharge tubes containing air at low pressures, said Dr. Bailey, show that radio waves of gyro-frequency* would produce a strong glow in the ionosphere (electrified radio mirror) 60 or 70 miles up. The artificial display would be the same in fundamental principle (emission of light by electrically excited atoms) as...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now

Subscribe
Subscribe

Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!