In the time that you can inhale and exhale once (assuming you can do so in around one second), the Sun will have shed (according to some sources) approximately four billion kilograms of its mass, which is ejected from its surface through solar winds.
Some of the charged particles contained within these solar winds ultimately make the journey to our planet, and become trapped in Earth’s magnetic field—resulting in the formation of aurorae (or “northern lights”). On occasion, the lights come in various colors—including red, pink, yellow, purple and blue—corresponding to composition. of course, the vast majority are bright green, stemming from the presence of atomic oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere.
This image of the northern lights was taken above Lyngenfjord, which is the longest fjord in Troms county, Norway. Taken by Jan R. Olsen, the photographer made the shortlist for “astronomy photographer of the year.” The winner will be announced next month. (See a larger image here)
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