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Monday, September 1, 2008

What are the Northern Lights?

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, are seen in the areas near the north pole, but they are also to be seen near the south pole, where they are called the Aurora Australis. Scientists are not sure about what exactly causes the aurorae, but they think that the beautiful rays of dancing pink, green and yellow lights may be caused by sudden discharges of electrical energy from the sun, which hit the high layers of the earth’s atmosphere near the poles. Here the earth’s magnetic field does not protect the atmosphere from the sun’s particles as it does over the rest of the planet, and so we see the lights in these regions. When they do appear, the sky in these regions. When they do appear, the sky may sometime be heard to crackle , just like the noise you hear when san electric spark sometimes jumps between your hand and a glass or metal surface.