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An aurora, also known as the northern lights, or polar lights, is a natural phenomenon that is exists in the Earth's sky as natural light. Auroras are found in the Northern Hemisphere in the Arctic & Polar regions. Auroras are displayed and occur when space particles or electrons interfere with the upper part of the Earth's atmosphere.[1] The electrons are energized through the speeding up of the process of the magnetosphere which follow to the Polar regions of the Earth causing a collision of nitrogen and oxygen molecules caused by the transfer of energy to the atmosphere. Protons within the atmosphere are generated close to the plasmapause or as lower latitudes.[2]


Auroras and the solar wind

The sun, as the main object of the solar system produces hot gases which are created out of charged particles or ions continually moves from the sun's surface known as the solar wind and when colliding into the Earth's magnetic field, most of the energy is prevented in the earth by the magnetosphere though some of the particles create a ring shape around Earth. This then enters the ionosphere, the outer part of Earth's atmosphere and releases it's energy along with the particles that exist within the ionosphere.[3]

Colors of an aurora

Causes of auroras

Auroras are a naturally existing luminous phenomenon that exists in space though currently, there is no absolute understanding of why auroras occur, though basically it is tied in with the solar winds from the sun.

  • Particle dilapidation. Energetically charged electric particles that consist of protons and mostly electrons, collide with gas atoms causing the total reaction to end up to show as light. At first, this charge is caused by continuous outflow of solar magnetic field and subatomic particles from the solar atmosphere from the sun and this is known as a solar wind.[4]
  • Magnetic disturbance. The Earth's core contains a deep magnetic-like object and has field lines extend around the Earth's magnetic poles caused by a solar wind disturbance which tends to widen the object it presents to the solar wind causing modification to the Earth's magnetic field. This change yields such a charge that it produces an aurora that is visible at the middle latitudes.
  • Charged particles. Inside space, plasma exists and it is consistently made out of charged particles that move in a special way to the electrons and ions then traveling along the magnetic field circling around producing an aurora.

Types of Auroras

File:Aurora australis panorama.jpg


  1. Aurora.” Aurora | NOAA / NWS Space Weather Prediction Center, NOAA,
  2. Connors, Martin. “Simultaneous Ground and Satellite Observations of an Isolated Proton Arc at Subauroral Latitudes.” Sakaguchi, Kaori, Journal of Geophysical Research, 2007,
  3. Society, National Geographic et al. “Aurora.” National Geographic Society, Caryl-Sue, National Geographic Society , 9 Oct. 2012,
  4. “Auroras: What Makes Them Happen?” Auroras: What Makes Them Happen?,