Scientists confirm cause of northern lights

2021-06-10

Electromagnetic waves, also known as Alfven waves, that occur within geomagnetic storms are what cause the brilliant light show known as the aurora borealis, according to findings reported in Nature Communications. "Measurements revealed this small population of electrons undergoes 'resonant acceleration' by the Alfven wave's electric field, similar to a surfer catching a wave and being continually accelerated as the surfer moves along with the wave," explained study author Greg Howes.

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