Wanna move North… you just might…

claus-vogel3I was looking up on the Internet when the last solar wind blast was and it just happen to be this past weekend… and people who live in the Arctic Circle got a great show. Saturday night on Baffin Island near the Canadian Arctic Circle the skies finally opened up after weeks of cloudy weather to showcase the dance of the Northern Lights.

Auroras are the result of the emissions of photons in the Earth’s upper atmosphere above 80 km (50 miles), from ionized nitrogen atoms regaining an electron, and oxygen and nitrogen atoms returning from an thomas-hagen1excited state to ground state. They are ionized by the collision of solar wind particles being funneled down, and accelerated along, the Earth’s magnetic field lines; excitation energy is lost by the emission of a photon of light, or by collision with another atom or molecule:
Oxygen emissions:
Green or brownish-red, depending on the amount of energy absorbed.  Nitrogen emissions:
Blue or red. Blue if the atom regains an electron after it has been ionized. Red if returning to ground state from an excited state.

It’s to bad we can’t see the “dancing lights”.  Makes you want to move North… or at least plan a trip to see the lights.

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Posted under weather

This post was written by qni_it on November 23, 2009

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