The model shows a spectacular aurora borealis around the Artic. Aurorae, also knows as polar lights, northern lights, or southern lights (in the case of aurora australis), are natural phenomena observable in the Earth’s sky in high-latitude regions (around the Arctic or Antarctic). The light displays are the result of perturbations in the Earth’s magnetosphere due to high energy particles (mainly electrons and protons) in the solar wind. The phenomenon occurs when the Earth’s magnetic field alters the trajectories of charged particles in the solar wind and forces them to downflow into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere). As a result, the atmosphere is ionized and excited and light of varying colors and complexity is emitted. The model also shows day and night high resolution maps of Earth. Credits: INAF - Osservatorio Astronomico di Palermo.
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