Dancing Lights: The Aurora Borealis Explained
The solar wind, a stream of charged particles from the sun, travels through space to meet Earth's magnetic shield.
Around the poles, the Earth's magnetic field funnels solar wind particles, setting the stage for the Northern Lights.
Charged solar particles collide with atmospheric gases, imparting energy that soon transforms into spectacular light.
When charged particles excite oxygen and nitrogen, they emit light. This is the core process behind the Northern Lights' glow.
The Northern Lights' colors vary depending on the gas and altitude. Green is most common, while red and blue are rarer.
Solar activity governs the intensity of the Northern Lights, with geomagnetic storms creating the most incredible displays.
The best views of the Northern Lights are near the poles, where the wonder has inspired awe for generations.