Aurora Borealis from Estonia (March 18, 2015)

Aurora Borealis from Estonia (March 18, 2015)

An Aurora Borealis (northern lights) photographed in Estonia on March 18, 2015. Photographer: Kristian Pikner. Image source: wikipedia

Polar Lights or Auroras are natural light displays predominantly seen in the high latitude (both Arctic and Antarctic) regions. If an aurora occurs in the Northern hemisphere, it is called “Aurora borealis” or “Northern lights”. If it is in the southern hemisphere, it is called “Aurora australis” or the “Southern lights”.

Both northern and southern lights are produced when the magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind that the trajectories of charged particles (predominantly in the form of electrons and protons) in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma, precipitate them into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere) due to Earth’s magnetic field, where their energy is lost. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emits light of varying color and complexity.

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