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Characters:   Sam Thomas · Sonya · Tracey R · Sam's mother · Mr. Ockham · Oscar Talbot · Other...
Companies: Oceanic Airlines · The Maxwell Group · Austral Air
Locations: Sunda Trench · Black Rock

Sam's desk - web browser

Aurora website

The Aurora page on Sam's browser

There is a website on Sam's browser with the url that describes the Aurora Australis. The green aurora image on web page is similar to the rolling snake-like image on the Maxwell Group logo.


The Aurora Australis is a natural phenomena of the southern hemisphere in which the sky is filled with mysterious lights due to magnetic forces in the atmosphere. Plasma particles from the sun enter the atmosphere and collide with the Earth's magnetic field, causing light to be released (similar to electrons passing through gases in a neon tube). Particularly intense auroral storms can produce up to one trillion watts of electricity.

The Aurora Australis occurs in an oval around the South magnetic pole. Auroras typically last for 15–40 minutes and may recur in 2 to 3 hours. The most common colours are green and pink, but they can also be red, yellow, violet and blue.

Kristian Birkeland

  • The photograph on the page is of Kristian Birkeland, a Norwegian scientist known for his studies of the Earth's magnetic field and auroral phenomena. The picture shows Birkeland with his magnetized terrella experiment, in which he simulated the effect of an aurora by directing beams of electrons at a magnetized model of the Earth. This demonstrated why aurora lights only appear in regions centered at the magnetic poles. Birkeland also conducted several expeditions to Norway's polar latitudes, where he determined that intense ionospheric currents (also called Birkeland currents) were associated with the aurora.

Sam's desk - email

Sent items

Email from Sam to Tracey, subject: "Strange Lights":

Hey Trace

OK, try and explain this one Miss Rational Explanation for Everything.

The other night I was on the deck when I saw what looked like a cloud of green light on the horizon. I grabbed my binoculars for a closer look -- it was a series of long green streaks that moved slowly and blended with each other. After about 20 seconds or so they faded away.

What do you think?



Email from Tracey to Sam, subject: "Lights":


Hmmm, strange green lights in the sky? Let's see, in my thoughtful and considered opinion I'd say it's most definitely an invasion of little green aliens from the planet Zubelleedubellee. Ruthless creatures. They eat people brains... have you checked yours lately? ;)

Seriously, there's a perfectly rational explanation for what you saw. It was more than likely an aurora. It's a natural phenomenon caused by magnetic forces in the atmosphere. They usually only happen around the polar regions but have been know [sic] to occur elsewhere. Mind you they don't normally fade away quickly like yours did. Could be related to the mishap on the bridge the other day but it's hard to tell for sure. I'm sure it's nothing sinister (just a little weird).

Take care


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