November 27, 2022

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Picture perfect: the sky turns pink

To start your work week off right, every Monday a great science or technology photo on our site. This time: a pink aurora borealis appearing over Norway.

When you think of the aurora borealis, you automatically think of green. But Marcus Varek, a tour guide with tour company Greenlander, captured stunning shots of the pink aurora borealis over Norway on November 3. A well-known phenomenon, but it does not happen very often.

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Nitrogen atoms

The reason for this brilliance is a solar storm that has created a hole in our magnetosphere, an invisible magnetic field that surrounds the Earth. This opening allowed high-energy particles from our parent star to penetrate deeper than usual into Earth’s atmosphere. The pit closed six hours after its formation.

Green is usually the most visible color in the aurora because oxygen atoms – common in the part of the atmosphere that solar storms usually reach – emit this color when they are charged. However, the hole in the magnetosphere on November 3 allowed solar particles to penetrate the part where nitrogen atoms predominate. And they, in turn, emit a pink color.

Sources: Live ScienceAnd the Greenlander (Facebook)And the Greenlander (Instagram)

Photo: Markus Varek/Greenlander

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