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Northern Lights In Rare Spots This Week – This Is Why
Those looking up at the sky in northern U.S. states and most of Canada may catch a glimpse of the northern lights this week.
Sam Sampere is a physics lab manager at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences. Below, he breaks down some of the science behind aurora borealis and talks about the best places to catch a view.
“Earth is one of the few planets surrounded by a magnetic field and has an atmosphere. You need the two things to create the northern lights, which we have here on Earth.
“In order to create northern or southern lights, you need a source of charged particles, and that source is the sun. The sun is always spewing out particles. The number that the sun spews out is not all that great, but sometimes the sun has little explosions and those charged particles are aimed directly at the Earth. That’s what happened a few days ago.
“Charged particles don’t go straight, they bend around and they curve. At the poles of the Earth, the magnetic fields are the strongest. It’s actually the strongest at the North Pole. You’ll see the greatest number of particles at the North and South Poles because the magnetic fields are the strongest at those locations.
“If you want to see the lights this week, look northwards, and stand in a dark location. City lights might obscure this, so go out in the country and find some dark skies.”
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