Visualization
ES1703  Observe auroras as seen from the ground and from space.

Auroras occur on Earth when ionized particles from the sun interact with air molecules in the upper atmosphere. The particles are deflected toward the North and South Poles by Earth's magnetic field, so auroras are most often visible at very high latitudes. When the ionized particles enter Earth's upper atmosphere (the ionosphere), their reaction with gas molecules can look like colorful light particles raining down. The ground-based images of auroras were taken in Alaska.

  !   Click each image to see a larger view.

More aurora images from Jan Curtis