Phenomena

Brilliant Auroras

A satellite's view of glowing auroras dancing over Canada in a recent geomagnetic storm.

Glowing auroras billow across Canada in this satellite image from a recent geomagnetic storm. As our sun enters a more active part of its solar cycle, we can expect more space weather as the high-energy particles of the solar wind interact with our planet’s magnetic field. The auroras themselves are light released by energetically excited atoms of oxygen and nitrogen high in the upper atmosphere.

Earth is not the only place in the solar system to experience these light shows. With their strong magnetic fields, Jupiter and Saturn have auroras that make Earth’s look paltry in comparison. (Image credit: J. Stevens; via NASA Earth Observatory)

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