Science | What causes the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)?

Although 93 million miles away, the Sun’s activity is the actual cause of the Aurora Borealis.

Northern Lights

Huge magnetic storms on the Sun’s surface send waves of charged particles into the Earth’s atmosphere via solar wind, these highly energised solar particles are then pulled in by the Earth’s magnetic field, entering the Earth’s atmosphere at the magnetic poles of the Northern and Southern hemispheres. Collisions occurring between the charged solar particles and gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere excite the gaseous particles, causing them to light up and produce the spectacle we know as the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).


Louise White


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