Northern Lights
Norway, December 2015

Photos by Charlie Nelson

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The solar wind interacts with the Earth’s magnetic field and electrons spiral towards the Arctic and Antarctic circles.  They collide with oxygen and nitrogen in the atmosphere to produce green and and purple lights.  The lights are unreliable and highly variable.

More information at spaceweather

Historically, the lights have been interpreted in many ways, as both good and bad omens.  In fact the beautiful lights are an indicator of recent solar activity.