As seen on the National Geographic News looking like a cosmic whirlpool enveloping the entire sky, a particularly intense peak in the northern lights near Yellowknife in Canada’s Northwest Territories, was captured by a fish-eye lens on 2013 March 1. Near the Northern Hemisphere’s spring (vernal) equinox, solar magnetic fields are oriented in just the right way to cause “rips” in Earth’s magnetic field, allowing more of the sun’s charged particles to reach our atmosphere. The resulting increase in solar winds on Earth encourages auroral sky shows, but can also damage satellite technology and electrical grids on the ground. © Kwon O Chul



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