Last week, days after the sun released a massive burst of solar wind and magnetic fields toward Earth, the particles collided with our planet’s magnetic field. When the two smash together, they create these amazing displays in the sky.
Green is the most common auroral color, according to Northern Lights Centre.
A pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.
The above photograph, courtesy of NASA, was taken over Marquette, Mich., on May 18. Image by Amy Cherrette
It’s been awhile since I posted anything about solar flares. (Though, it’s also been awhile since I’ve written about anything in general … Hopefully the astronomy news hanging out in the dark tunnels of my email archive will soon see the light.) Anyway, here’s a video of X-Class solar flares, a first for 2013.
The video was taken earlier this month when, within a 24-hour time period, the sun emitted three fairly large flares.