Aurora borealis in Iceland

Aurora borealis in Iceland

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Credit: PETER MENZEL/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aurora borealis over a hotel. The aurora borealis (northern lights) is an atmospheric phenomenon that occurs at high latitudes, appearing as shimmering sheets of coloured light in the sky. It occurs when charged particles in the solar wind are directed towards the poles by Earth's magnetic field. There they collide with atoms in the upper atmosphere, causing them to emit light. The colour of the light depends on the gas involved. Green is produced by excited atomic oxygen. Photographed in northern Iceland on 11th September 2005.

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Keywords: 11/09/2005, 2005, 21st century, astronomical, astronomy, atmospheric phenomenon, aurora borealis, aurorae, building, earth science, earth's atmosphere, effects, electromagnetic effect, gas, glow, green, hotel, iceland, ionised, ionising, night sky, northern lights, oxygen, physical, physics, sciences, september

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