Animation ID : AEA_3010
Charged particles from the Sun are attracted to the Earth's magnetic poles, funnelled along the field lines of the magnetosphere. As they enter the Earth's atmosphere, these high-speed particles cause energy transitions within the atoms of the atmosphere, producing the spectacular light shows of the Aurora Borealis and Australis - the Northern and Southern Lights. Aurora may be seen on any dark clear night in the polar regions. These colourful atmospheric displays are particularly active near the Earth's geomagnetic poles and at times following high levels of sunspot activity. Particularly intense displays can be accompanied by disturbance to electrical equipment such as radio receivers, computer circuitry and power supplies.
Data source: Defense Meteorological Satellite Program (DMSP) Optical Linescan Sensor (OLS) from the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC).
Credit : Planetary Visions Ltd.