Aurora borealis, Svalbard, Norway

Aurora borealis, Svalbard, Norway

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This image is part of the feature Forecasting space weather

Credit: LOUISE MURRAY/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aurora borealis, Svalbard, Norway. Auroral displays are caused by interactions between energetic charged particles from the Sun and the Earth's atmosphere. Moving at 400-500 kilometres a second, the charged particles of the solar wind are drawn by Earth's magnetic field to the poles, where they collide with gas atoms and molecules, causing them to emit light. Green light is from oxygen atoms, red from nitrogen molecules. The displays can be hundreds of kilometres above the Earth.

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Keywords: 21st century, arctic, astrophysical, astrophysics, atmosphere, atmospheric phenomenon, aurora borealis, aurorae, earth observation, earth science, earth's atmosphere, effects, electrical, electromagnetic effect, europe, european, expedition six, from space, international space station, iss, january, lightning, magnetosphere, meteorological, meteorology, nature, night, night-time, northern lights, physics, polar, satellite, sciences, solar activity, storm, storms, weather, wind

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