How phenomena like aurora borealis and space weather profoundly affect us 

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We are delighted whenever we have the chance to gaze up at the aurora borealis — also known as the Northern Lights — dancing across the night sky. What we don’t always think about is how phenomena like the aurora and space weather profoundly impact us. In this webinar, UCalgary scholars Eric Donovan and Emma Spanswick help us understand space weather and the effects it can have on our technology, our natural systems and our climate.


As a professor in Physics and Astronomy, Eric Donovan studies the physical processes that occur in the near-Earth space environment. In particular, he uses observations of the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, to ‘remote sense’ the outermost parts of the Earth’s environment — the ionosphere and magnetosphere. Eric’s team of physicists, engineers, and technicians has developed and is operating the world’s most extensive network of ground-based instruments for observing the aurora. His program has led to significant roles for Canadian scientists in major international space missions flown by NASA and the European Space Agency. Eric is also Associate Dean, Research and Graduate Studies for the Faculty of Science.

Emma Spanswick is Associate Director of UCalgary’s Auroral Imaging Group, a world leader in developing and operating instrumentation for observing the Northern Lights. She is also an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Faculty of Science. Emma specializes in space physics and magnetospheric physics, and her research interests include electromagnetism, plasma physics, and geophysics.


Why should we care about space weather?

Recorded on October 10, 2017


Take a look at our other webinars and ebooks for research-based insights into topics like becoming an astronaut, settlement on Mars and mysteries of the quantum world.