June 24

Science in the News

“The aurora borealis, or Northern Lights, are caused by collisions of gaseous particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles released from the Sun. The colors  vary depending on which particles are most prevalent in the atmosphere – it’s usually green or occasionally a pinky-red, both of which are caused by oxygen.

The aurora captured by Astronaut Scott Kelly from the International Space Station is a lot more red than you’d typically expect though, and its color is caused by high-altitude oxygen and excited nitrogen.

Red auroras are also more common when there are solar storms, and yesterday Nasa reported that the Sun had emitted a mid-level solar flare – essentially a powerful burst of radiation.”  Breaking News

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