Auroras appear when solar electrons excite oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The ionosphere (which includes the upper part of the mesosphere, and most of the thermosphere) is approximately 250 miles up. That’s 1,320,000 feet over our heads.
The aurora (both north and south poles experience this action) mostly happens near the magnetic poles. When the charged particles from the sun (mostly electrons and protons) slam into air in Earth’s atmosphere, the air takes on glows in pretty colors which makes the aurora.
Buy the way, the magnetic poles are far away from the geographic poles. WHAT. Yes, our earth is tilted on its axis. These are the points (north and south) where the earth spins around. But the magnetic poles where the magnetic field comes out of and goes back in are not in the same place as the axis poles. Because the Earth’s outer molten core is swirling around the Earth’s inner core (which creates the magnetic field) there is a fluctuation of where the magnetic fields come out of the earth and then goes back into the earth. This fluctuation causes the magnetic poles to move sometimes around 25 miles per year.
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