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Last Post 10/22/2018 6:13 AM by  Lindsay Glesener
upper atmosphere/auroras
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shawn m


10/21/2018 10:18 PM

    where does the purple glow in aurora's come from, and other colors, usually you see a lot of green colored ones, but purple not as often?

    Lindsay Glesener

    New Member

    New Member

    10/22/2018 6:13 AM
    The aurora happens because super-fast charged particles sneak into the Earth's atmosphere and collide with ambient atoms and molecules, which release light. The beautiful variety of colors of the aurora are due to the different types of atoms and molecules in the atmosphere. For example, nitrogen, hydrogen, and oxygen molecules tend to emit red light; oxygen also emits green light, and nitrogen ions emit violet/purple light. These nitrogen ions are only found in the highest parts of the atmosphere, at about 1000 km altitude, so you often don't see them. If you get the opportunity to see the aurora from right angle, you might see the top of the aurora glowing purple.
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