AURORA BOREALIS: How the Northern Lights Work

Earth Aurora Borealis

Last Updated: Aug 10, 2018

How does the aurora borealis work?

The magnetic field gives us a layer out in space called the magnetosphere. It varies in distance but can extend up to 65,000 kilometers from Earth’s surface.

From space, the magnetosphere resembles a magnetic dipole. Field lines resonate in a circular pattern from magnetic north and south poles.

The magnetosphere allows life to exist on Earth’s surface. Without it, Earth would be exposed to solar and cosmic radiation.

During magnetic storms, trapped plasma flashes lights that are observable around the globe. This disturbance in the magnetosphere is what creates the Aurora Borealis.

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