Sherbrooke Aurora

December 01, 2003

Dscn0974

Provided and copyright by: Rémi Boucher
Summary authors & editors: Rémi Boucher

These magnificent northern lights were created by the impact of the X-17 coronal mass ejection (CME) that was observed on the Sun on October 28, 2003, nearly 2½ years after the solar maximum. Directed by the Earth's magnetic field, the solar wind (velocities of 1,000 km/second) associated with this powerful CME collided with nitrogen and oxygen molecules in the upper atmosphere. On October 30, northern lights sparked right above my head and even to the south of me, despite the fact that I viewed them from near Sherbrooke, Quebec (45 degrees north latitude).

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