Hydrogen Atom Cited As Source of Aurora

Streamers of hydrogen gas from outer space are thought to be the source of aurora borealis (the "northern lights") according to a theory advanced yesterday by a University scientist.

Donald H. Menzel, professor of Astrophysics and Associate Director for Solar Research in the Harvard Observatory, based his theory on recent discoveries of the University of Colorado high altitude observatory that the sun shoots out streamers of almost pure hydrogen gas, through which the earth continually plows.

When the gas breaks through the earth's magnetic field, the physicist said, the hydrogen particle become luminescent upon contact with the atmosphere some 200 miles above the earth's surface.

Menzel, now a visitor at the Colorado observatory at Boulder, believes the energy and heat thrown off by the hydrogen atoms could have important effects on both weather and radio reception.