Magnetized plasma particles are often released from stormy sunspot regions on the sun's surface and travel into space as solar wind. After coming toward us in what is roughly a 40-hour journey, the particles meet Earth's upper atmosphere to create a magical display of southern lights.
Most people in North America are more familiar with the term for this hemisphere's counterpart, the aurora borealis, than they are with the aurora australis.
The stormy, smoldering birth of the solar wind might surprise admirers who are only familiar with the majestic, seemingly peaceful auroras that appears in the skies of each hemisphere.
Like the inside of a child's iridescent summer bubble wand, the aurora australis — also known as the southern lights — and the Milky Way bend across the sky in a stunning display of sapphire blue and fuchsia pink.
The grandeur of the aurora australis is highlighted further with the Milky Way visibly shining behind it. The galaxy has a diameter of 100,000 light-years, so one can only imagine the colorful variety of aurora shows that could be playing out on other worlds with the Milky Way backdrop.
in, Resonance Science Foundation