Northern Lights putting on a show

Photo courtesy of Frans Kim

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, has been dancing up a storm over Alberta over the last few weeks. Quite a number of beautiful pictures of this spectacle have been posted to social media by those fortunate enough to catch the show. But what causes this light show in the sky?

The northern lights result from collisions between charged particles from the sun’s atmosphere and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere. The charged particles from the sun are blown across vast distances on the “solar wind.” If the Earth happens to be in these particles’ path, the magnetic field and atmosphere react.

Auroral displays can be seen above the mag- netic poles of both the northern and southern hemispheres. The auro- ral display in the southern hemisphere is known as aurora australis.

Keep your eye on the sky and your camera ready to capture some fantastic photos!

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