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Question:  What are auroras? Explain their formation and significance for scientific research.


Answer:  Auroras are bright colourful lights that are visible in night sky of certain planets having a well developed atmosphere. These phenomenons are quite common on Earth especially near the polar areas.

Formation of auroras

  • Auroras occur in those planets that have an atmosphere as well as magnetic field.
  • The solar particles ejected from the sun travel towards planets, intending to reach the planetary surface.
  • These particles are not allowed by the magnetic field to enter atmosphere by diverting them away.
  • In some case when magnetic field is not strong enough or non-continuous, these particles are able to reach atmosphere.
  • Solar particles then interact with atmospheric gases and excite to form colourful lights in the sky.

Auroras on Earth

  • Auroras on earth are formed near northern and southern pole areas due to weakened magnetic field in these regions.
  • The northern auroras are known as northern lights or aurora borealis. The southern auroras are known as southern lights or aurora australis.

Significance of auroras

  • Study magnetic field
    Auroras formation only in selected areas indicates that magnetic field of a planet is intact as it has been successful in diverting majority of solar particles.
  • Study of atmosphere
    Study of auroras can also help in identifying composition of a planet’s atmosphere as every light wavelength is dependent on its chemical composition.
Updated on 25 Jul 2021 |   Added on .08 Jul 2021  |  by admin