12 October 2017

#1424 Finland

An aurora is a natural light display in the sky (from the Latin word aurora, "sunrise" or the Roman goddess of dawn), predominantly seen in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions. Aurorae are caused by cosmic rays, solar wind and magnetospheric plasma interacting with the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere). Their charged particles, mainly electrons and protons, enter the atmosphere from above causing ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents, and consequent light emissions. Incident protons can also produce emissions as hydrogen atoms after gaining an electron from the atmosphere.

In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the aurora borealis (or the northern lights), named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas, by Galileo in 1619. Auroras seen within the auroral oval may be directly overhead, but from farther away they illuminate the poleward horizon as a greenish glow, or sometimes a faint red, as if the Sun were rising from an unusual direction.

Thank you, Virpi !
Received on: October 12, 2017

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