The Northern Lights return to Forres


These pictures of the Northern Lights were taken near Forres on Saturday night by Andrew Clark.

The Northern Lights – or Aurora Borealis – are caused by storms on the surface of the Sun which give out huge clouds of electrically charged particles.

Having travelled millions of miles, some of these particles may eventually become captured in the Earth’s magnetic field.

They then accelerate down towards either the north or south pole where the magnetic pull is strongest.

As they do so they slam into atoms and molecules within the Earth’s atmosphere which heat up and then start to glow.

The two most common gases in the Earth’s atmosphere are oxygen and nitrogen.

Oxygen gives off a green colour when heated.

Meanwhile, the hints of purple, blue or pink you sometimes see in an aurora are caused by nitrogen.


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