The Northern Lights are a fascinating natural phenomenon. These animated shows in the night sky have contributed to the mythology, folklore and art of many cultures and civilizations in the Northern Hemisphere.
In 2007, as part of the THEMIS Mission (for "Time History of Events and Macroscale Interactions During Substorms"), NASA launched a constellation of five small satellites, all carrying identical suites of electric, magnetic, and particle detectors to study auroras. These satellites fly in carefully coordinated orbits to track disturbances in the magnetosphere.
The Canadian Space Agency contributes to this mission by supporting ground stations on Canadian soil. The purpose of these stations is to collect information that specialists can compare with the THEMIS satellite data. These 20 ground stations are located across the Arctic Circle and equipped with automated, all-sky cameras that take pictures every three seconds.
This dataset includes data from two instruments: All-Sky Imagers (ASI) and ground-based magnetometers (GMAG). Since 2005, these instruments have collected data from the night sky to improve forecasts and increase our understanding of the behaviour of the Northern Lights.
For more information: http://www.asc-csa.gc.ca/eng/satellites/themis/default.asp.
The data are also available at https://data-portal.phys.ucalgary.ca/home_rt/.