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This figure shows the earth, the aurora, and streams of particles coming from the magnetosphere.
Click on image for full size

The forming Aurora

This picture shows the flowing of particles into and out of the auroral zone, as Field-Aligned currents (FAC's) take at short-cut through the atmosphere.

Some of the particles entering the auroral zone will crash into particles from the atmosphere and create the aurora. After the collision, these particles leave the magnetosphere and become part of the atmosphere.

The impacts of these particles can have a significant effect on the atmosphere as a whole, causing it to wobble for hours.

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This figure shows the effect of the aurora on the atmosphere. When FAC's enter the atmosphere and create the aurora, they heat the atmosphere suddenly and abruptly. This creates an impulse which travels...more

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AU stands for Astronomical Units. It is an easy way to measure large distances in space. It is the distance between the Earth and the Sun, which is about 93 million miles. For really big distances, we...more

The Spiral of the IMF

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The SAR Arc

If someone says they saw an aurora, you might picture something like this. There is another type of aurora that we can't see. These aurora are called SAR arcs. The SAR stands for Stable Auroral Red. That...more

The forming Aurora

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The Expanding Auroral Oval

This picture shows a series of images of the auroral oval as it expands over the an hour's time because of a storm on the Sun. This is an animation of the auroral oval expanding....more

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