Sure! The northern lights, or aurora borealis, is a natural light show in the sky that happens in the northern part of the world. It is caused by charged particles coming off of the sun that come crashing into the Earth’s atmosphere that release energy in the form of colorful light when they collide.
The Northern lights are most often seen in the polar regions, around the Arctic and Antarctic circles. This is because the charged particles from the sun have to travel through a lot of Earth’s atmosphere to reach these areas, which gives them a chance to collide with the gases in our atmosphere and create a beautiful light display.
4th graders read on…
The sun continually emits a stream of these charged electrical particles, called the solar wind, which is made up of mostly electrons and protons. When these particles reach the Earth’s magnetic field, they are funneled toward the magnetic poles. There they are drawn in and collide with gases in the Earth’s atmosphere, such as oxygen and nitrogen. These collisions cause the gases to emit light in different colors. The most common colors of the northern lights are green, pink, and violet, but they can also appear in shades of yellow, blue, and even red.