Earth's Electric Relationship to the Sun

The aurora is a benign and beautiful sign that something electric is happening in the space around Earth. Named for the Roman goddess of dawn, auroras are Earth’s biggest light show. Auroras appear most often in skies above Earth’s polar regions, hence the name Northern and Southern Lights. Auroras occur when high-energyelectrons from the magnetosphereare guided by Earth's magneticfield towards the polar regionsand the atmosphere. There, they collide with oxygen and nitrogen,electrically exciting these gases so that they emit light, much like the glow of a fluorescent lamp.

  The Space Weather Center is part of the National Space Weather Program, with funding provided by NASA and the National Science Foundation.  

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