Aurora borealis

Aurora borealis

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Credit: CHRIS MADELEY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aurora borealis over trees, fish-eye lens view. This coloured light display, also called the northern lights, is observed in the night sky at high latitudes. It occurs when charged and highly-energetic particles from the Sun (the solar wind) are drawn by Earth's magnetic field to the northern and southern polar regions. Hundreds of kilometres up, they collide with the upper atmosphere, causing the excitation of atoms and molecules which leads to the emission of light. Oxygen atoms (rather than molecules), the most abundant components of the atmosphere at these heights, release this green light. Photographed in March 2000, near Fairbanks, Alaska, USA.

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Keywords: 2000, alaska, america, arctic, atmosphere, atmospheric effect, atmospheric phenomenon, aurora borealis, aurorae, earth science, earth's atmosphere, effects, electromagnetic effect, fairbanks, fish-eye lens view, glow, glowing, high latitude, ice, light emission, march, natural phenomenon, nature, night sky, northern lights, polar, sciences, silhouette, silhouetted, snow, solar activity, tree, treeline, trees, united states, us, usa

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