Why does aurora occur? Teach me about science

Cause of the aurora borealis (credits: Hans Becker)

If you’ve ever seen photos or seen auroras in person, you know how wonderful it is to see these beautiful lights in the sky, but why do they happen? They appear to be colored by a steady light in the polar sky, but they are much more than that. Next, I will explain why auroras occur.

The twilight It is the result of a collision of particles emitted from the Sun against the Earth’s magnetic field, as the magnetosphere is attracted towards the poles, colliding with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, causing distinctive and beautiful flashes of light, mostly red, blue and. Green color.

But that’s not the only thing that’s going on, after all there’s a race of energy-charged electrons, all that solar activity causes more charged flares, and when that activity increases enough, solar storms are generated. The interesting thing is that the aurora makes sounds, a sound similar to a click and static electricity, which humans cannot hear because the sound is produced at an altitude of 70 kilometers, but the advantage is that we can still appreciate the beauty of this phenomenon.

Now that we know why they are produced, let’s talk about their distinctive colors. When we think of twilights, the first thing that comes to mind is emerald green, but not all of them are that color. We must first understand that their hues are caused by the interaction of the particles of the solar wind with the atoms and molecules of our atmosphere. For example, green and yellowish color are caused by the excitation of oxygen, and bluish, purple and red light originate from nitrogen, and it is worth noting that these colors are more common in edges and curved areas.

Twilight types

You may have wondered at some point if these phenomena only occur in the polar regions. The answer to this question is yes, but this does not mean that they occur only in the northern hemisphere (the northern lights), but also in the south (the Australian lights). This is because the Earth’s magnetic field is much weaker in the polar regions. A wonderful thing is that Earth is not the only planet where these atmospheric phenomena occur. We know that they also occur on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune. In these places, phenomena of interaction between magnetic fields and the solar wind are also experienced, just as it happens on planet Earth.

Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to appreciate this remarkable phenomenon up close, I’ll tell you what the perfect places to see the beautiful Northern Lights are. Although the North Pole is famous for this kind of vision, the best places are in the Arctic Circle, where the Earth’s magnetic field deflects the Sun’s particles, making interaction with our atmosphere at altitudes of up to 69 or 70 degrees N . . Another point to keep in mind is that the best conditions for contemplating the aurora borealis in all their splendor occur in the regions furthest from the light produced by large cities, however, the remarkable visual displays of some auroras are visible when the human eye is even from the regions. affected by light pollution.

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