Aurora Borealis over coniferous forest, Canada

Aurora Borealis over coniferous forest, Canada

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Credit: B&C ALEXANDER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aurora Borealis. A shimmering curtain of light from the aurora borealis dances and fans across the sky above a coniferous forest. This trail of light is also known as the Northern Lights in the northern hemisphere. Early eskimos believed these lights were the playful souls of children on their way to heaven. Nowadays we know that the 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 and form flickering patterns of light. Photographed in Manitoba, Canada.

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

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