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.
Fact number 2
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.
Fact number 3
The solar wind flows from the Sun out into the solar system past Pluto.
Fact number 4
Since the International Space Station orbits at almost the same altitude as the auroras, astronauts on board see auroras at eye level.
Fact number 5
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.
Fact number 6
The Earth's magnetic field reaches thousands of kilometres out into space.
Fact number 7
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.
Fact number 8
Auroras typically occur between 100 and 300 km in the atmosphere, but can sometimes stretch as high as 600 km.
Fact number 9
Launched in 1962, Alouette-1, Canada's first satellite, 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.
Watch the dance of the northern lights nightly from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada. This live webcam streams the aurora borealis from August to May through a collaboration between the University of Calgary, the City of Yellowknife, Astronomy North and the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). More