Green skies

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The Aurora borealis is something I’ve never seen but always wanted to. When I see photos of it I’m amazed that electrons from the suns solar wind can cause such beauty.

The electrons and other particles travel along the magnetic lines of force at the North Pole (and South – the Aurora Australis I think it’s called). As they interact with the magnetic field they glow. The different colours denote different elements. I think Green is Nitrogen and Pink is Oxygen.

The Aurora occur at the poles because they are where the magnetic field is at its weakest and drops down towards the pole. If you have seen iron filings round a bar magnet you can see how the field curves round and down.

So what is solar wind? It is the matter that pours out from the sun when there is a hole in the corona (upper atmosphere of the sun). There are coronal mass ejections where the sun spews out masses of ionised electrons which interact with Earth’s atmosphere.

There is a lot more about aurora’s but my knowledge is not good enough to explain more.

 

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