2002 Photo Contest, Science & Technology, 3rd prize

Olivier Grunewald

01 January, 2001

Using a terrella, a miniature model earth, in a vacuum chamber, physicist Kristian Birkeland creates an artificial aurora of color, replicating the effects of solar wind. The University of Tromsø stored this early experiment from 1913.

The Northern Lights—or Aurora Borealis—are produced when solar wind, eruptions of electrified particles from the sun, collide with Earth's magnetic field. These magnetic storms can also damage satellites and other telecommunications installations. In a new scientific field, researchers at the EISCAT base are pioneering space meteorology, to forecast the weather in space.

About the photographer

Olivier Grunewald

Olivier Grunewald was born in Paris in 1959. He started photographing birds at the age of 14. After studying commercial advertising photography at the Gobelins school of images, ...

This image is collected in