What Causes the Northern Lights?


Quick Answer

The northern lights are created when a cloud of gas, also called a coronal mass ejection, explodes from the sun and collides with Earth's magnetic field. This collision creates charged particles, which interact with the gases in the upper atmosphere, creating the colorful northern lights.

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Full Answer

Also called aurora borealis, the northern lights are formed near the North Pole. These lights can be spotted year-round only when it's dark, and people closest to the pole have the best chance of seeing the display of lights. The color varieties are created when the charged particles interact with different layers of the atmosphere.

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