The aurora borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, results from a string of interactions that begin with storms on the sun’s surface. These solar storms, which increase in intensity over an eleven-year cycle, emit charged particles into the solar system. When this “solar wind” collides with the Earth’s magnetosphere (the area around our planet that is dominated by the Earth’s magnetic field), some of the charged particles get caught in the Earth’s magnetic lines. Their energy becomes stored in the near-Earth space environment.
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