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USGS CMG InfoBank: Auroras

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Comment: 20:30 - 21:33 (01:03)
Source: Annenberg/CPB Resources - Earth Revealed - 3. Earth's Interior
Keywords: "solar wind", "solar flare", "magnetic field", aurora, "magnetic north pole", "magnetic south pole"

Our transcription: So a self-sustained electromagnetic cycle, though far from steady, is active deep inside Earth.
On occasion, an astonishing light show triggered by the sun reveals parts of the magnetic field surrounding our planet.
From the surface of the sun, a constant flow of electrically charged particles known as the solar wind enters space.
The solar wind is mostly deflected from Earth by our planet's magnetic field; but near the poles, these particles are drawn magnetically toward Earth's surface.
As they hit the atmosphere, they causes gases to glow and form shimmering curtains of red, white and green lights which we call the "aurora."
When solar flares occur, the aurora are especially spectacular because charged particles bombard the Earth's atmosphere across the higher latitudes.

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