What Causes the Aurora? *suitable for home teaching*

Rate this resource

This article from Catalyst looks at aurora borealis caused by the interaction of the solar wind with the Earth's magnetic field. It also explains how satellites are testing thoeires of how this happens. Auroral light emission occurs at roughly 100 km altitude. Energetic electrons in the solar wind cause the emission of light from molecules and atoms in the ionosphere. Green and red auroras are due to oxygen ions. Blue light comes from singly charged nitrogen molecules.

The article is useful for illustrating topics such as the Sun's activity, magnetism, the electromagnetic spectrum or atomic structures.

This article is from Catalyst: Secondary Science Review 2012, Volume 22, Issue 3.

Catalyst is a science magazine for students aged 14-19 years. Annual subscriptions to print copies of the magazine can be purchased from Mindsets.

Show health and safety information

Please be aware that resources have been published on the website in the form that they were originally supplied. This means that procedures reflect general practice and standards applicable at the time resources were produced and cannot be assumed to be acceptable today. Website users are fully responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is in accordance with current regulations related to health and safety and that an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out.

Show downloads

Published by


Share this resource

Lists that tag this content

Solar system, POSTED BY