Space Weather and Earth's Aurora
As part of the Your Place In Space initiative, the United States Space Force (USSF) invites you to explore their space-inspired K-12 STEM resources on its agency website. We hope you find helpful materials that equip and empower your students to discover, explore, and create their place in space!
Aurora are colorful lights in the night time sky primarily appearing in Earth's polar regions. But what causes them? The culprit behind aurora is our own Sun and the solar plasma that is ejected during a magnetic event like a flare or a coronal mass ejection. This plasma travels outward along with the solar wind and when it encounters Earth's magnetic field, it travels down the field lines that connect at the poles. Atoms in the plasma interacts with atoms in Earth's upper atmosphere. This reaction produces the colorful lights we call aurora.