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Posted by on Jul 12, 2015 in Tell Me Why |

What Is the Aurora Borealis and What Causes It?

What Is the Aurora Borealis and What Causes It?

Aurora borealis is a spectacle of lights seen at night in the Northern Skies, especially in the arctic regions. Also called the Northern lights, these colorful displays of flickering glowing lights are caused by tremendous storms on the sun known as sun spots.

The storms shoot out large quantities of electrified particles toward the earth making earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere react. When these particles strike the thin gases in the earth’s upper atmosphere, they cause the gases to glow in many colors, much like a gigantic neon light. The more storms there are on the sun, the larger the aurora is.

So today the mystery of the aurora is not as mysterious as it used to be. Yet people still travel thousands of miles to see the brilliant natural light shows in Earth’s atmosphere. And even though we know the scientific reason for the aurora, the dazzling natural light show can still fire our imaginations to visualize fire bridges, gods or dancing ghosts.

Content for this question contributed by Heather Sabino, resident of Beaver County in Western Pennsylvania, USA