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  what are the northern lights
  what causes an aurora?
  so how does it work?
  do the aurorae affect us?
  what's twinkling got to do with it?
  tracking space storms
  working in the Arctic
  Antarctic lights
  life in the Antarctic

what are the northern lights?

 

In photographs they look like brightly-coloured clouds, ranging from red through yellow-green to blue, and they can cover large areas of the sky. The most spectacular thing though is that they move quickly - and in total silence. Spooky!

 
         
You can see more movies in our Gallery [Movie file 1mb or more - High quality]

 

There are many different forms of aurorae, but the most well-known look like curtains of light, with ripples and curls moving along them.
This is a movie of some aurorae in action. Fantastic!

         
         

Here is a movie, taken from a spacecraft, of the ultraviolet radiation from a display of aurora around the north pole. It shows where the atoms in the Earth's atmosphere are being excited by the particles from the Sun. By studying images such as these, aurora-watchers can tell people on the ground where arorae are likely to be visible from.

You can see more movies in our Gallery [Movie file 1mb or more - High quality]
         
         
 
Aurora movie still
   

 

   
 
 

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