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Aurora Borealis

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etracey99

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Many of us know the Aurora Borealis as the 'Northern Lights'. This natural phenomenon is, of course, thanks to the physics of our Earth and its atmosphere!

Topic of the moment - northern lights and solar wind(Photo credit: NASA)

The Aurora Borealis is an extremely beautiful event that occurs most often close to the magnetic poles of Earth. It occurs due to charged particles coming from the Sun of which collide with other molecules found in the Earth's atmosphere. Solar winds from the Sun carry these charged particles and when the wind passes by Earth, particles may be trapped in the atmosphere from the Earth's magnetic fields! The charged particles ionize molecules in the atmosphere, which give off light. This creates the Aurora Borealis!

I had previously thought that the Northern Lights were from light reflecting somehow, but it awesome to see that it is caused by magnetism, which fits into our past few units very nicely.

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