Aurora Borealis from Prince Edward Island, Canada

Aurora Borealis from Prince Edward Island, Canada

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Credit: LIONEL F. STEVENSON/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aurora Borealis. View of the Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) seen from a road on Prince Edward Island, Canada. A homestead is seen at lower frame. Aurorae occur when charged cosmic particles become trapped in the Earth's magnetic field. As the particles spiral toward the poles around the magnetic field lines, they collide with gas molecules in the upper atmosphere. This causes the molecules to ionise, leading to the flickering patterns of light seen here. Eskimos once believed these lights were the playful souls of children on their way to heaven. Aurorae may be seen around both poles; the southern hemisphere display is known as the Aurora Australis (Southern Lights).

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Keywords: atmospheric phenomenon, aurora, aurora borealis, aurorae, canada, earth science, earth's atmosphere, effects, electromagnetic effect, northern lights, prince edward island, sciences

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