What Is This? Whipped Petroleum?

Hint: It makes your hard drive work and also makes pretty colors in the sky.

By Andrew Grant|Tuesday, May 18, 2010
RELATED TAGS: MAGNETIC FIELD, AURORA
magneticfield2
magneticfield2
Image: R. Mark Bessette

This image depicts the magnetic field lines between two bar magnets. Earth has a field of its own that protects us from charged particles from the sun. It channels some of these particles toward the poles, where they can collide with air molecules and release energy in the form of light, producing brightly colored auroras.

Comment on this article
ADVERTISEMENT

Discover's Newsletter

Sign up to get the latest science news delivered weekly right to your inbox!

ADVERTISEMENT
ADVERTISEMENT
Collapse bottom bar
DSCNovCover
+

Log in to your account

X
Email address:
Password:
Remember me
Forgot your password?
No problem. Click here to have it emailed to you.

Not registered yet?

Register now for FREE. It takes only a few seconds to complete. Register now »