The next time you happen across the mysterious and beautiful dancing lights of the aurora, you might think of the magnetosphere, source of energetic particles that create the auroral light and generator of electric currents that heat the polar ionosphere.
Or your mind may turn to the Sun and solar wind, whence nearly all magnetospheric particles and energy derive.
Or perhaps you will see in your mind’s eye a giant fountain of air rising from the polar atmosphere and settling in the tropics, high above the ground.
You might even wonder whether this auroral storm has disrupted communications and navigation systems, or endangered astronauts in space.
But wherever your mind may wander, borne by this dazzling display, may you never lose the same sense of mystery that our ancestors felt when beholding this amazing and beautiful silent fire in the polar sky.