A Five Minute Explanation of How the Earth's Beautiful Northern Lights Arrive

Aurora borealis isn't just very fun to say aloud—it's absolutely beautiful to watch. But where does it come from? The whim of the gods? No, silly Ancient Roman—the sun's plasma discharges are responsible. This video breaks it down.

The sun is a giant crock pot of magnetic fields and incredible heat. The two collude and send giant belches of plasma shooting outward toward our little rock. When the magnetically charged package hits our planet's atmosphere, the plasma is siphoned downward to our skies, where we see pretty swirling lights, and not a violent cosmic grappling match. [via BuzzFeed]

Share This Story

Get our `newsletter`


can anyone explain why the plasma isn't travelling to earth at the speed of light? I would have assumed that it was only an 8 minute trip or so.