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Old September 2nd, 2014, 08:10 PM   #1
jose l.
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The Beauty of Auroras - One Photo Per Post

The Beauty of Auroras




The aurora borealis (the Northern Lights) and the aurora australis (the Southern Lights) have always fascinated mankind, and people even travel thousands of miles just to see the brilliant light shows in the earth's atmosphere. The auroras, both surrounding the north magnetic pole (aurora borealis) and south magnetic pole (aurora australis) occur when highly charged electrons from the solar wind interact with elements in the earth's atmosphere. Solar winds stream away from the sun at speeds of about 1 million miles per hour. When they reach the earth, some 40 hours after leaving the sun, they follow the lines of magnetic force generated by the earth's core and flow through the magnetosphere, a teardrop-shaped area of highly charged electrical and magnetic fields.
¬As the electrons enter the earth's upper atmosphere, they will encounter atoms of oxygen and nitrogen at altitudes from 20 to 200 miles above the earth's surface. The color of the aurora depends on which atom is struck, and the altitude of the meeting.
• Green - oxygen, up to 150 miles in altitude
• Red - oxygen, above 150 miles in altitude
• Blue - nitrogen, up to 60 miles in altitude
• Purple/violet - nitrogen, above 60 miles in altitude
All of the magnetic and electrical forces react with one another in constantly shifting combinations. These shifts and flows can be seen as the auroras "dance," moving along with the atmospheric currents that can reach 20,000,000 amperes at 50,000 volts. (In contrast, the circuit breakers in your home will disengage when current flow exceeds 15-30 amperes at 120 volts.)
The auroras generally occur along the "auroral ovals," which center on the magnetic poles (not the geographic poles) and roughly correspond with the Arctic and Antarctic circles. There are times, though, when the lights are farther south, usually when there are a lot of sunspots. Sunspot activity follows an 11-year cycle.


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Old September 2nd, 2014, 08:11 PM   #2
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Aurora over a Village in Scotland - UK


Blackness Aurora by Chee Seong, on Flickr
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 08:12 PM   #3
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Aurora closet o Aberdeen - UK


auroral curtain by welshdragonphotos, on Flickr
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 08:18 PM   #4
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Aurora borealis over Gullfoss waterfall in Iceland


Where Galaxies Meet by TheFella, on Flickr
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 08:24 PM   #5
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Aurora Australis over South Island - New Zealand


The Southern Lights in New Zealand by Stuck in Customs, on Flickr
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 08:29 PM   #6
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Aurora Autralis over Storm Bay, Tasmania - Australia


Southern Lights in Storm Bay by Brendan Davey, on Flickr
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 08:53 PM   #7
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Aurora Borealis over Hammerfest, Norway


Aurora Borealis over city of Hammerfest, Northern Norway!.. by furiouskaa5786, on Flickr
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Old September 2nd, 2014, 09:39 PM   #8
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Aurora Borealis from the plane, Saskatchewan - Canada


Aurora, as seen from an airplane, in 3D by fksr, on Flickr
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 03:25 PM   #9
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Aurora Borealis over Snæfellsnes Peninsula - Iceland


Under The Green of The Night, The Horses Did Roam by TheFella, on Flickr
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 03:27 PM   #10
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Aurora Australis over Queenstown - New Zealand


Our Galaxy over Queenstown by Stuck in Customs, on Flickr
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 03:29 PM   #11
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Auroras Borealis over Northen Yukon - Canada


Amazing Auroral Storm by David Cartier, on Flickr
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Old September 3rd, 2014, 07:58 PM   #12
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Aurora Borealis over Jökulsárlón lagoon in Southern Iceland


Aurora Rainbow by TheFella, on Flickr
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Old September 4th, 2014, 03:15 PM   #13
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Aurora Australis,, Invercargill - New Zealand


Aurora Australis, Oct 9th 2012, Invercargill, New Zealand by *amy&kimball, on Flickr
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Old September 4th, 2014, 03:16 PM   #14
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Aurora Australis (NASA, International Space Station, 07/15/12)


Aurora Australis (NASA, International Space Station, 07/15/12) by NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center, on Flickr
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Old September 4th, 2014, 09:44 PM   #15
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Aurora Borealis over Moray coastline Scotland - UK


Moray coastline Scotland - UK
Ray of light by Kenny Muir, on Flickr
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Old September 5th, 2014, 04:10 PM   #16
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Aurora Borealis over Puck Bay - Poland


Aurora borealis by PeterJot, on Flickr
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Old September 5th, 2014, 06:33 PM   #17
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Aurora Borealis over Reine - Norway


Reine Norway by peterspencer49, on Flickr
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Old September 5th, 2014, 09:31 PM   #18
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Aurora Borealis over Elk Island, Alberta - Canada


Elk Island Aurora by Mike Isaak, on Flickr
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Old September 5th, 2014, 11:39 PM   #19
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Aurora Borealis over Kirkjufell - Iceland


The Green Rainbow by Oliver C Wright, on Flickr
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Old September 6th, 2014, 06:38 AM   #20
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Aurora Borealis over Lapland - Finland


Spectrum of Northern Lights in Finland by Visit Finland, on Flickr
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