The Globe has an interesting report today about a project to observe and measure the aurora borealis, including NASA satellites, Canadian and US observation sites, and universities from both countries.
There is even live data from the aurora.phys.ucalgary.ca site
The Globe says
The data from [5 NASA satellites to be launched] will be augmented by measurements taken on the ground at 20 automated observatories, including 16 set up across Northern Canada by the University of Calgary and the University of California at Berkeley. Four are in Alaska.
The mission is about more than understanding the Northern Lights at their most strange and beautiful. For when the aurora borealis moves and changes colour, it is a sign that a geomagnetic substorm has begun. These substorms release radiation that can damage satellites and power grids.