Aurora Borealis

By: Maddie Anderton

What is an Aurora?

An Aurora is a natural phenomenon characterized by streams of different colored lights in the sky, typically near Earth's north and south magnetic poles.

What causes Auroras to happen?

The sun gives off charged particles. When these particles reach Earth, they’re guided through its magnetic field. They then go through Earth’s upper atmosphere near the magnetic poles. The charged particles then interact with the atoms in the air causing the atoms to give off glowing visible light.

Where can you see them?

You can see Auroras at northern or southern latitudes related to Earth's magnetic field.

What do Auroras look like from space?

a glowing ring, appearing to be radiating off of the Earth.

Why are they different colors?

The collisions between charged particles and the Earth’s atmosphere cause the electrons of the atmospheric atoms to become excited. As the electrons return to their original energy levels, the atoms give off visible light to create the colors of the display we see.

What is the solar connection here?

The sun is giving off the charged particles that react with Earth's atmosphere to give off the light, so the solar connection is between the sun's particles, and Earth's atmosphere.