Back to  What are the northern lights and where do they come from?

Good question. Have you ever seen the Northern Lights, also known as the aurora borealis? We asked our scientist Gord O., about this since Gord knows a lot about the sky.

The Sun releases lots of little particles which makes up the solar wind. When these particles get close to the Earth, they get trapped in the Earth's magnetic field. They then follow the magnetic field into the Earth's atmosphere near the north and south poles. When they hit the atmosphere, chemical reactions take place which create lights of many colours.

The Sun goes through cycles when sometimes there is more activity in the Sun which releases more particles than usual. At these times, there are more northern lights. The closer you are to the north pole, the easier it is to see this spectacle.

People in the southern hemisphere can see the same thing towards the south pole. These are called the southern lights.

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