Aurora borealis and star trails, Greenland

Aurora borealis and star trails, Greenland

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Credit: JUAN CARLOS CASADO (starryearth.com) / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Aurora borealis and star trails. Fish-eye lens, time-exposure image of star trails and an auroral display over a house and shoreline in the settlement of Qassiarsuk, Greenland. The aurora borealis is a coloured light display (the northern lights) that is visible in the night sky, usually only at high latitudes. It occurs when charged and energetic particles from the Sun (the solar wind) are drawn by Earth's magnetic field to the polar regions. Hundreds of kilometres up, they collide with gas molecules and atoms, causing them to emit light. Star trails appear on time-exposure images of the night sky due to the rotation of the Earth relative to the stars.

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