South auroral oval and polar rain simulated in laboratory using the Planeterrella experiment (J. Lilensten et al., UJF/CNRS, Grenoble, France, online). The Planeterrella was redesigned after K. Birkeland’s original terrella experiments, which in the 1900s helped him unveil the mechanisms at the origin of polar aurorae. A magnetised aluminium sphere is placed in a vacuum chamber. An electric current is then established between the sphere (anode) and the electrode at the top of the figure (cathode) producing emissions in the visible and UV ranges. Image by Cyril Simon Wedlund, distributed by EGU under a Creative Commons License.
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