Aurora borealis or northern lights and Ursa Major

Aurora borealis or northern lights and Ursa Major

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Caption: Aurora Borealis. Green, yellow and red Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights display over clouds and trees. The plough in the constellation of Ursa Major is prominent at upper left. Aurorae are caused by the interaction between energetic charged particles from the Sun and gas molecules in the upper atmosphere about 100 kilometres up. A stream of charged particles, called the solar wind, flows out into space continuously from the Sun at speeds of 400-500 kilometres per second. On reaching Earth, the charged particles are drawn by Earth's magnetic field to the poles, where they collide with gas molecules in the upper atmosphere, causing them to emit light.

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Keywords: atmospheric phenomenon, aurora, aurora borealis, aurora borealis display, aurorae, earth science, earth's atmosphere, effects, electromagnetic effect, northern lights, northern lights aurora display, plough, sciences, sky, solar wind, stars, ursa major

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