Aurora and comet Ikeya-Zhang

Aurora and comet Ikeya-Zhang

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Credit: PEKKA PARVIAINEN/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aurora Borealis (northern lights) display over silhouetted trees. At lower left is the comet Ikeya-Zhang (visible as a vertical white smudge just above and right of the bright orange star Mirach, or Beta Andromedae). The aurora borealis is caused by energetic particles from the Sun (the solar wind) interacting with gases high in the Earth's atmosphere, causing them to emit light. The Earth's magnetic field channels the solar particles towards the poles, and most aurorae are seen from polar regions. Comet Ikeya-Zhang was visible in spring 2002 from the northern hemisphere. Photographed on 31st March 2002 from Finland.

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Keywords: 2002, astronomical, astronomy, atmosphere, atmospheric phemonenon, atmospheric phenomenon, aurora borealis, aurorae, beta andromedae, comet, cometary, earth science, earth's atmosphere, effects, electromagnetic effect, finland, finnish, ikeya-zhang, march 31st, mirach, night sky, northern lights, polar, sciences, silhouetted, solar wind, spring, starfield, starry, stars, tree, trees

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