The Northern Lights (aurora borealis) are caused by energized particles from the Sun that collide with gases in Earth’s atmosphere. The collisions cause the dazzling light displays known as aurorae; in the southern hemisphere, they’re aurora australis.
The lights can appear up to 400 miles above Earth’s surface and change color depending on the gases the solar particles are interacting with. The photography site Capture the Atlas has released the fifth edition of its Northern Lights Photographer of the Year contest. Here are the 25 winning images aurorae around the world.