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Northern Light Show 2005
Northern Light Show 2005

Brilliant splashes of color lit up the night skies across North America on May 14-15, 2005 as seen in this stunning photo of aurora borealis, better known as the "northern lights."

Auroras form when a "solar wind" of charged particles from the Sun enters Earth's magnetic field, accelerating electrically charged particles trapped within. The high-speed particles then crash into Earth's upper atmosphere over the polar regions, causing the atmosphere to emit a ghostly, multicolored glow.

This photo was taken five miles outside Kearney, Nebraska. Image courtesy of Mark Urwiller.

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Page Last Updated: January 15th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator