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The Northern Lights Natures Free Light Show

I was doing my usual morning news crawl when I came across some spectacular video footage of the northern lights A.K.A. aurora borealis.

My first question was what the heck are these things, what causes them? So I did a little search and came across this explanation at the Everyday Mysteries site;

“The origin of the aurora begins on the surface of the sun when solar activity ejects a cloud of gas. Scientists call this a coronal mass ejection (CME). If one of these reaches earth, taking about 2 to 3 days, it collides with the Earth’s magnetic field. This field is invisible, and if you could see its shape, it would make Earth look like a comet with a long magnetic ‘tail’ stretching a million miles behind Earth in the opposite direction of the sun.

When a coronal mass ejection collides with the magnetic field, it causes complex changes to happen to the magnetic tail region. These changes generate currents of charged particles, which then flow along lines of magnetic force into the Polar Regions. These particles are boosted in energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere, and when they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, they produce dazzling auroral light.”

To read the entire post click here.

Now as it turns out I couldn’t get a good link to the original footage I saw on the Independent UK site but I did find this nice clip at the National Geographic YouTube channel;

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