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What is an aurora? - Michael Molina

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Why do we see those stunning lights in the northern- and southernmost portions of the night sky? The Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis occur when high-energy particles are flung from the Sun’s corona toward the Earth and mingle with the neutral atoms in our atmosphere -- ultimately emitting extraordinary light and color. Michael Molina explains every step of this dazzling phenomenon.

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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Animator Eduardo Sandoval
  • Director Franco Barroeta Fonseca
  • Sound Designer Juan Carlos Aguirre, Luis Orlando Ruíz
  • Educator Michael Molina
  • Narrator Brian Bender
Additional Resources for you to Explore
Color: If you’ve seen the polar lights or looked at pictures you’ve noticed that they appear in a variety of colors. This has to do with the atoms that are being excited and the size of their wavelength. Find out more about the colors of the polar lights.
Wind: Science is always making breakthroughs thanks to technology and instruments we have built over the years. Wind is a solar probe that helped capture solar wind.
If you haven’t been lucky enough to see the polar lights, here is a great video shot from above Earth that shows what the lights look like from space.
TED-Ed
Lesson Creator
New York, NY
07/03/2013 • 
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About TED-Ed Animations

TED-Ed Animations feature the words and ideas of educators brought to life by professional animators. Are you an educator or animator interested in creating a TED-Ed Animation? Nominate yourself here »

Meet The Creators

  • Animator Eduardo Sandoval
  • Director Franco Barroeta Fonseca
  • Sound Designer Juan Carlos Aguirre, Luis Orlando Ruíz
  • Educator Michael Molina
  • Narrator Brian Bender