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.
› Link to associated news item
Page Last Updated: January 15th, 2014
Page Editor: NASA Administrator