The flickering glow of the northern and southern lights is known around the world. They occur when electrons from the sun’s solar wind run into Earth’s magnetic field. But in order to build up enough energy to release light, those electrons had to speed up to a whopping 45 million miles per hour! Scientists just discovered how they do that–by surfing along waves in our atmosphere, just like a surfer rides waves in the ocean.

 

 

Did you know? Northern lights can only be seen near the Arctic circle. Southern Lights are only seen near the Antarctic Circle. Every now and then they stray closer to the equator, but not by far. source

Want to know more? Check out the different types of auroras, including arcs, bands, and rays here.

Surfing electrons create the northern lights
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