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Aurora borealis, 19th century

Aurora borealis, 19th century

C033/1732

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50.2 MB (6.2 MB compressed)

3455 x 5074 pixels

29.2 x 42.9 cm ⏐ 11.5 x 16.9 in (300dpi)

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SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Aurora borealis. 19th-century illustration of the aurora borealis, 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. This illustration is from 'Physique Populaire' (Emile Desbeaux, 1891).

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