Manta Ray by Raymo
"One of the most beautiful events of nature is the Aurora. It’s a very common sight for people who live beyond the Polar Circle and where night lasts for a half a year. Living in a Polar region is difficult at times. There is no sunlight, only low light for a few hours in the middle of the day. But it’s not always dark, when the sky is clear you can see bright arcs of green or red light moving across the sky. Photos just don’t do it justice, the Northern lights are absolutely amazing."
Auroras, Light of the Night. © Alexander Semenov
A cloud of charged particles from the sun slammed into Earth Monday, setting off an intense geomagnetic storm that spawned northern lights across the U.S.—even in the Deep South. Sky shows were reported in more than half the 50 states, including Georgia, Alabama, and Arkansas, according to Spaceweather.com. Photograph courtesy Shawn Malone (via National Geographic)
The Milky Way and the northern lights seem to merge over Finnmark, Norway, on September 25. Auroras are created when charged solar particles collide with molecules in Earth’s atmosphere, infusing the molecules with extra energy that then gets emitted as light. - Photograph by Tommy Eliassen Eliassen. (via National Geographic)
Glimmering green and blue auroras cover large swaths of sky above Canada on August 5. “At the biggest, about 60 percent of the sky was dancing,” wrote photographer Olivier du Tré on the SpaceWeather website.
Auroras occur when energized particles from the sun reach Earth and get funneled down the planet’s magnetic field lines toward the Poles. Along the way, the charged particles smash into oxygen and nitrogen atoms in our atmosphere and boost their energy, which ends up being emitted as colorful light. (via National Geographic)