Explained: What causes the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights, also known as aurora borealis, are the result of electrically charged particles from the sun, smashing into gaseous particles in our planet’s atmosphere.
This solar flare is often joined by a coronal mass ejection – which is a huge expulsion of plasma from the sun’s outer layer.
The massive burst of material from the sun prompts a geomagnetic storm, which brings the aurora to lower latitudes.
The solar storms cause bright, colourful dancing lights in white, green, pink and purple that illuminate the sky and are considered an incredible sight.
Colour variations occur when different types of gas particles collide with the charged particles.
The most common colour of the aurora is green, which is created when oxygen molecules about 60 miles above the ground react with the particles, whereas nitrogen causes a blue or purple hue.
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