The aurora borealis in the sky near Rovaniemi in Lapland, Finland, October 7, 2018. Alexander Kuznetsov/Reuters
Scientists have confirmed for the first time how the northern lights form in the sky.
Electromagnetic waves transfer energy to electrons, which then hitch a ride toward Earth.
The electrons eventually collide with atoms and molecules in a brilliant light show – the aurora.
For years, scientists hadn’t been able to confirm how the northern lights cast their spectral glow across the sky.
But they’d long held a theory. First, eruptions on the sun release a stream of charged particles called solar wind. Those particles interact with Earth’s magnetosphere – the region around the planet controlled by its magnetic field. In the process, the field launches powerful electromagnetic