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Spiralling-down electrons create auroras
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- Title Spiralling-down electrons create auroras
- Released 09/02/2007 9:47 am
- Copyright ESA
Artistic view of electrons, responsible for aurora, spiralling down magnetic field lines. The U-shaped potential structure illustrates the region where electrons get accelerated on their way down to the upper atmosphere. Here they are stopped by collisions with neutral atoms and molecules, primarily oxygen and nitrogen, at altitudes of a few hundreds kilometres down to 80 kilometres. Each collision transfers part of the electron energy to these atmospheric particles. In turn, they get rid of this energy excess by emitting visible emissions in specific wavelength (or colours) such as green (oxygen) or purple (nitrogen).