Where is the aurora in the atmosphere?

Asked By: Ranim Althuser | Last Updated: 17th January, 2020
Category: science space and astronomy
4.1/5 (84 Views . 10 Votes)
Aurora, luminous phenomenon of Earth's upper atmosphere that occurs primarily in high latitudes of both hemispheres; auroras in the Northern Hemisphere are called aurora borealis, aurora polaris, or northern lights, and in the Southern Hemisphere aurora australis, or southern lights.

Click to see full answer

Also to know is, where do auroras occur in the atmosphere?

The aurora (Northern Lights and Southern Lights) mostly occur in the thermosphere. The thermosphere is a layer of Earth's atmosphere. The thermosphere is directly above the mesosphere and below the exosphere. It extends from about 90 km (56 miles) to between 500 and 1,000 km (311 to 621 miles) above our planet.

Furthermore, why does Aurora happen in the North? The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. However, the earth's magnetic field is weaker at either pole and therefore some particles enter the earth's atmosphere and collide with gas particles.

One may also ask, how is Aurora formed?

The aurora borealis (northern lights) form when charged particles emitted from the sun during a solar flare penetrate the earth's magnetic shield and collide with atoms and molecules in our atmosphere. These collisions result in countless little bursts of light, called photons, which make up the aurora.

What is Earth's aurora?

The Aurora is an incredible light show caused by collisions between electrically charged particles released from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere and collide with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen. The lights are seen around the magnetic poles of the northern and southern hemispheres.

37 Related Question Answers Found

Are Auroras dangerous?

The Northern Lights occur so high up in the atmosphere that they don't pose any threat to people watching them from the ground. The aurora itself is not harmful to humans but the electrically charged particles produced could have some potentially negative effects to infrastructure and technology.

Are Auroras plasma?

The ultimate energy source of the aurora is the solar wind flowing past the Earth. Both the magnetosphere and the solar wind consist of plasma (ionized gas), which can conduct electricity. Indeed, active auroras (and related “substorms”) are much more likely at such times.

How often do auroras occur?

"Active periods are typically about 30 minutes long, and occur every two hours, if the activity is high. The aurora is a sporadic phenomenon, occurring randomly for short periods or perhaps not at all."

How hot is the upper atmosphere?

The exact temperature of the thermosphere can vary substantially, but the average temperature above 180 miles (300 km) is about 800 degrees Fahrenheit (427 degrees Celsius) at solar minimum and 1,700 degrees Fahrenheit (927 degrees Celsius) at solar maximum.

Where can I see Aurora?

In Fairbanks, Alaska, the sky glows with the aurora borealis. Located just two degrees below the Arctic near international airport and close to the impressive Denali National Park, Fairbanks is the best place in the U.S. to take in the northern lights.

What are the auroras of Earth and Jupiter confined by?

Auroras receive their energy from charged particles traveling between the Sun and Earth along bundled, ropelike magnetic fields. Auroras also have been observed on Jupiter's moon Io, where they are produced by the interaction of Io's atmosphere with Jupiter's powerful magnetic field.

Why is the ionosphere important?

Ionosphere. The ionosphere is the part of the atmosphere that is ionized by solar radiation. It plays an important part in atmospheric electricity and forms the inner edge of the magnetosphere. It has practical importance because, among other functions, it influences radio propagation to distant places on the Earth.

Why does the aurora happen?

The short answer to how the aurora happens is that energetic electrically charged particles (mostly electrons) accelerate along the magnetic field lines into the upper atmosphere, where they collide with gas atoms, causing the atoms to give off light.

Do other planets have auroras?

They can be seen on other planets in our solar system too. Space scientists at NASA have been able to confirm that some of our closest neighbouring planets such as Jupiter and Saturn have their own auroras. A close up of Jupiter's northern aurora. Magnetic pull on both of Jupiter's poles causing these aurorae.

What are the southern lights called?

Polar lights (aurora polaris) are a natural phenomenon found in both the northern and southern hemispheres that can be truly awe inspiring. Northern lights are also called by their scientific name, aurora borealis, and southern lights are called aurora australis.

How is Earth like a magnet?

The Earth behaves like a magnet because the Earth is a magnet. It is not a permanent magnet, but an electromagnet. We now understand why. Deep in the Earth, molten metal (mostly iron) flows due to heat which causes convection.

What colors are the Northern Lights?

The colors most often associated with the aurora borealis are pink, green, yellow, blue, violet, and occasionally orange and white. Typically, when the particles collide with oxygen, yellow and green are produced. Interactions with nitrogen produce red, violet, and occasionally blue colors.

Where is the best place in the world to see the northern lights?

Northern Lights, Fairbanks, Alaska
Fairbanks sits in the auroral oval, a ring-shaped area around the North Pole, and it's one of the best places in the world to see the lights.

Can aurora borealis be seen from space?

The clip captures the Aurora Australis, or southern lights, as seen from the International Space Station, which orbits about 250 miles above Earth. (The Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, occurs in the northern hemisphere.)

What do the northern lights look like from space?

But to astronauts in the space shuttle above the earth, auroras seem to cling to the surface below. In fact, auroras begin at about 60 miles above the Earth's surface, above most of the atmosphere. This shuttle image shows the characteristic oval shape of the aurora.

How are solar winds formed?

The solar wind is created by the outward expansion of plasma (a collection of charged particles) from the Sun's corona (outermost atmosphere). This plasma is continually heated to the point that the Sun's gravity can't hold it down.