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Aurora borealis, 19th-century artwork. The aurora is a coloured light display visible in the night sky at high latitudes. It occurs when charged particles from the Sun 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 (beams across top). This aurora was observed on 2 January 1897 from the weather station on the summit of the Brocken, the tallest peak (1141 metres) in the Harz mountains of northern Germany. Artwork from the 19th volume (first period of 1897) of the French popular science weekly 'La Science Illustree'.
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