Alaska Northern Lights

Alaska Northern Lights are powered by the Sun. Magnetic storms occurring on the Sun send out a stream of electrons and protons that light up our skies at night. The electrons and protons are energy particles in the solar wind varies in temperature and speed as sunspots increase and decrease in the upper atmosphere of the Sun.

The sunspot cycle peaks every eleven years. During the peak of the cycle large magnetic storms occur on the Sun. The Sun ejects an increased number of electrons and protons from its upper atmosphere sending them streaming in all directions away from the Sun. The solar wind takes two days to travel from the Sun to the Earth where it creates the Northern Lights as the solar wind passes the Earth.

The Aurora Borealis is also known as the Northern Lights in the northern hemisphere. The Aurora Australius are called the Southern Lights in the southern hemisphere. The lights occur between 50 and 200 miles above the Earth in the Thermosphere. The energy particles in the solar wind collide with atoms in the atmosphere. Radiation is emitted as light when this happens forming forming the Northern Lights

The best time to see the Alaska Northern Lights is late at night or early in the morning. You should also try to go to some place when lights from the city will not affect the sky. The best months to observe the auroras are September, October, February and March.

Check your calendar for dates when there will be a new moon during one of these months. Look for glowing and dancing curtains of light in the sky on these days. Common colors found lighting up the sky by the auroras are green, pink, yellow and orange. The most common color is green and red is the rarest.

More Planet Earth Links

Earths Crust  Find out where the newest crust on our planet forms and which type of crust is the oldest.

Lithosphere  Earth's lithosphere is the outer shell of the planet. It contains both the crust and part of the upper mantle.

Earths Core  Find out how scientists use earthquake waves to study the Earth's core.

Asthenosphere  Find out how scientists proved the existence of the asthenosphere after the Great Chilean Earthquake in 1960.

Earths Atmosphere  Find out how the layers above Earth have formed and their importance to life on our planet.

Alaska Northern Lights  Learn how and why the Northern Lights light up the sky in the Northern Hemisphere.

Planet Earth  Find out about the different layers that make up planet earth from the core to outer space.

Home Page  The Science Site contains information on our planet, volcanoes, science activities, earthquakes and much more.


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