Northern lights

My digital doodle of the northern lights. A couple of days ago the sun threw off a medium sized Coronal Mass Ejection (CME). A plume of hot plasma which the Sun throws out every few days into space. This time it was a halo CME which was pointing directly at us on Earth.

The Sun releases plasma and radiation which can cause effects like auroras on Earth. Streams of electrons and ionised gas travel down the magnetic lines of force that surround the Earth in a protective layer. They hit out atmosphere and glow different colours depending on what atoms they excite.

Yesterday aurora were seen quite far down the longitude of the Northern hemisphere. It might happen again tonight. The sky glowed. I don’t live far enough north to be able to see it. One day I hope I do.

Most of this is written from memory after reading about the Northern lights. If you want more information please check out relevant websites like



“And what is Life?—An hour-glass on the run,
A mist retreating from the morning sun,
A busy, bustling, still repeated dream;
Its length?—A minute’s pause, a moment’s thought;
And happiness?—A bubble on the stream,
That in the act of seizing shrinks to nought.”

[From ‘What is Life?’ (1820) by John Clare]

I just read this quote and thought about what I would love to see. My friend recently visited Iceland and was lucky to see the aurora borealis. I decided to try and draw it since I haven’t had the opportunity to see one. I was surprised to find out they can be colours other than green which is caused by Nitrogen ions in the atmosphere. The pink is from Oxygen.

The magnetic North Pole of the Earth is drifting towards the actual North Pole at several kilometers a year. There is speculation about what is causing this. But as the Earth’s has a molten iron core it causes a magnetic feild generated by the movement of the Iron. The earth’s magnetic feild may flip (it has before) and so the aurora may drift further south.

The magnetic feild lines emerge from the poles like a bar magnet. This is where the Earth’s magnetosphere is at its weakest and the solar wind, which is made up of charged particles, comes down the magnetic lines and causes the gases in atmosphere to glow.

I wish I had more knowledge about it and I hope one day I will see it.