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Aurora over Tromsø, Norway
Imaged by Pete Lawrence February 14, '07.
©Pete Lawrence, shown with permission.

Particles from the sun are trapped in Earth's magnetosphere and accumulate in its dark side.  Magnetic rearrangements disturb, cascade and accelerate them downwards. They punch through the atmosphere and excite forbidden light.

Pete Lawrence's Digital Sky
Magnetic rearrangements
Forbidden radiation