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About Aurora on Earth and Other Planets

Aurora is a beautiful, shimmering, luminous glow that is caused by particles leaking through the magnetic fields and entering into the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The polar lights – aurora borealis and aurora australis – love to play hide and seek, and observing the lights requires patience and luck. Even if you travel to a place where the chances of seeing an aurora is high, clouds can obstruct your view.

1.     Aurorae are light displays, shafts, or curtains of coloured lights that are visible on both the southern and northern hemispheres.  It is possible to see the lights anywhere, but they are more frequent at higher latitudes, near the poles. Aurorae are colourful displays, and the colours and patterns comes from the types of ions or atoms that are being energized. There are rippled curtain, pulsating globs, travelling pulses, and steady glows. Blue, violet, red, ruby, and bright green lights dancing over the sky.

Aurora borealis

2.     The lights are called aurora after the Greek word for the north wind, and the Roman goddess of dawn was called Aurora. Northern lights are called aurora borealis, and southern lights are called aurora australis.

Aurora Australis
3.     The aurora borealis most often occurs near the equinoxes, which happens each year around in March and September. In Alaska or Greenland, the lights are visible most nights and days of the year, but we can only them with the naked eyes when it is dark.

4.     An aurora usually gives a greenish-white glow. Photos often reveal redder aurora than the unaided eye, film has a different sensitivity to colours. Red aurorae tend to be on top of the green aurora, but the aurora is a mixture of colours. A purple edge can sometimes be seen on an intense aurora.5.     The father of the aurorae is the sun, which throw out enormous quantities of particles during sun flares. An aurora begins on the surface of the sun when material thrown off the surface of the sun collides with the atmosphere of the Earth. Solar activity ejects a cloud of gas. After a couple of days, some of the clouds may reach earth, and it collides with the Earth’s magnetic field. As a result, complex changes happen to the magnetic field’s tail, and currents of charged particles flow along the lines of magnetic force into the Polar Regions. When these particles collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, a fantastic array of colour is produced.

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Posted by on March 14, 2011 in Nature