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The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The student news site of Franklin Delano Roosevelt High School

The New Dealer

The Northern Lights

The+Northern+Lights

Ever look to the sky and wonder how its beautiful colors and shades of blue change with time? It’s like weaving a story through the delicate clouds. Imagine going to the North Pole to see something more than that, to see rays of different colors surrounding the sky. The Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, are a natural light display predominantly seen in high-latitude regions around the Arctic. They are one of the most spectacular natural phenomena, creating vibrant, shifting colors in the night sky. 

How are the Northern lights formed?

 1. Solar wind and the Sun’s activity:

  • The sun emits a continuous spectrum of charged particles known as the solar wind. This wind consists of electrons, protons, and other particles.
  • Occasionally, the sun releases large bursts of solar wind and magnetic fields due to solar storms or flares.

  2. Interaction with Earth’s magnetosphere: 

  • When these charged particles from the solar wind reach Earth, they interact with its magnetosphere.
  • The magnetosphere directs most of these particles towards the poles, both North and South.

   3. Colors of the Aurora: 

  • The type of gas and the altitude at which the collision occurs determine the colors of the aurora: 
  • Green: The most common color, produced by the oxygen molecules about 60 miles above the Earth.
  • Red: produced by high altitude oxygen, around 20 miles up , and less common.
  • Blue and purple: produced by nitrogen molecules and ions, appearing at the lower edges of the aurora.

In May of 2024, The New York Times published that the Northern Lights were formed in places where they normally aren’t. It occurred in places such as Arizona, Central California, and Southern England. When this happens, the aurora can be seen closer to the Equator. Expert claim such events are not that uncommon, with about 100 occurring every 11 years, adding that the storm can also disturb high-frequency radio used at sea and by airlines. This is a rare phenomenon because it happens only at the North Pole.

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