By shooting intense radio beams into the night sky, researchers with the High Frequency Active Auroral Research Program created a modest neon light show visible from the ground. The technique could help them to clear up the enigma of what causes the pulsating natural light shows. And one day, it could be used to light a city or generate celestial advertisements.
The green speckles were sprinkled amid the aurora borealis, or Northern Lights.
The scientists sent radio pulses skyward every 7.5 seconds, making the electrons bob like boats on the sea and showing that these waves could be enough to produce aurora.
If no pre-existing aurora is required, “we are left with the tantalizing (some would say disconcerting) possibility that such radio-fuelled emissions could form the basis of a technology for urban lighting, celestial advertising, and more.”