December 2, 2021

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Northern lights (aurora borealis): What they are and how to see them

7 min read


The northern lights, or the aurora borealis, are the beautiful dancing waves of light that have captivated people for millennia. But for all its beauty, this spectacular light show is a rather violent event. 

Energized particles from the sun slam into Earth’s upper atmosphere at speeds of up to 45 million mph (72 million km/h), but our planet’s magnetic field protects us from the onslaught. As Earth’s magnetic field redirects the particles toward the North Pole, the dramatic process transforms into a cinematic atmospheric phenomenon that dazzles and fascinates scientists and skywatchers alike.

The history of the northern lights



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