What Are You Really Seeing When You Spot An Orange Aurora?

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Auroras, the northern and southern lights, are spectacular celestial phenomena that are a complex interaction between our planet’s magnetic field, atmosphere, and particles from the Sun. The finish product is superb, with colorful curtains that stretch into the space. Sometimes, they can look orange – but are they really that color?

Although colorful, the Aurora display is not a complete pantheon of samples. The lights have a certain color and this is how they are produced. Atoms in the atmosphere interact with solar particles and become ionized, losing an electron or moving their electrons into an excited state. Reversion (regaining an electron or an electron returning to its ground state) means that the atom loses the energy it emits as light.

The world of atoms and molecules is numbered. The energy that an electron can have in an excited state is always the same, so the energy emitted by light is always the same color. Therefore, the auroras are mostly green because this is the color released by oxygen, which is easy to enjoy.

are there Other colors, not as common but not very rare; For example, you can see green lights accompanied by red. There are two sources for reds; The first, deeper red is from nitrogen atoms, which depending on the energy can cause purple, blue, and pink hues.

But if the sun is particularly active, there may be a red color produced by oxygen. This is important now – we are approaching the solar maximum, which means more solar storms and solar radiation, and thus more airplanes. of Header image and timeout Above They were taken during geomagnetic storms A few days ago.

The emotions that produce red color are long-lasting. Oxygen can exist in an excited state for about two minutes, so it is higher in the atmosphere where collisions are rare. It is often the red planes that appear above the green.

We’ve covered green and red (or pink, purple and blue), but not orange. However, some northern lights have orange and sometimes yellow – so what’s going on? Well, our eyes and cameras are playing tricks on us.

Just like on-stage color filters can cause things to appear different colors, so a green and red aurora might look orange in between. It does not emit any atoms, but the orange aurora is visible when the condition is corrected.

There’s a philosophical argument to be made about whether or not orange planes exist, but whether we consider it real or not, we can all agree that it’s pretty cool.

[H/T: SpaceWeather]

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