Auroras can also be found on other planets. Jupiter and Saturn both have auroral ovals on both hemispheres. Venus, Uranus and Neptune have irregular auroras.
The next Solar Maximum is predicted to occur in 2013.
Auroras typically occur between 100 and 300 km in the atmosphere, but can sometimes stretch as high as 600 km.
Launched in 1962, Canada’s first satellite, Alouette-1, made our country the third nation in space. Alouette-1 studied the ionosphere, the electrically-charged layer of the upper atmosphere that can affect long-distance radio transmission.
A coronal mass ejection is an ejection of energetic plasma from the Sun that can travel at speeds up to 10 million kilometres an hour.
The Earth’s magnetic field reaches thousands of kilometres out into space.
Solar storms can disrupt radio transmissions, disable communications satellites, cause GPS systems to malfunction and even lead to power outages like the 1989 blackout in Quebec.
The solar wind flows from the Sun out into the solar system past Pluto.
Since the International Space Station orbits at almost the same altitude as the auroras, astronauts on board see auroras from side-on.
Our atmosphere protects us from solar radiation on Earth, but aircraft crews on transpolar flights and astronauts receive higher doses of radiation during intense solar activity.