AURORAS (Syllabus: GS Paper 1 – Geography)

News-CRUX-10     13th May 2024        
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Context: A rare celestial event, the auroras or ‘Northern Lights’, was visible across various parts of the globe for the another consecutive night on May 11, as per an AFP report.


  • About: These are luminous and vivid phenomena that occur in the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Formation: They result from the interaction between charged solar winds and the Earth's magnetosphere.
  • Chemical Composition: The distinctive colors of auroras are determined by the specific atoms and molecules in Earth's atmosphere, each emitting its unique set of colors, much like human fingerprints.
  • Cause: The auroras result from solar flares and coronal mass ejections, with different gases causing various colors in the atmosphere.
  • Nature: Solar winds consist mainly of protons and electrons ejected from the Sun's atmosphere.
  • Earth's Magnetosphere: The magnetosphere, surrounding the Earth, shields it from solar winds and is strongest at the poles.

o At times, solar wind particles penetrate the Earth's magnetic field, reaching the upper atmosphere.

  • Collision Process: When these particles collide with atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere, they produce light.
  • Analogous Phenomenon: The process is akin to the mechanism behind the glow of neon lights through gas collisions.

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