The Auroras sometimes referred to as polar lights (aurora polaris), are natural light displays in the Earth's sky, predominantly seen in high-latitude regions. Both the northern and southern lights are both types of Auroras. One occurs at the north pole (the Arctic) and is called the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights and the other is located near the south pole (Antarctic) and is named the Aurora Australis.
Auroras display dynamic patterns of brilliant lights that appear as curtains, rays, spirals, or dynamic flickers covering the entire sky.
Auroras are the result of high-energy particles from the Sun cascading down on Earth and disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar wind. These disturbances alter the trajectories of charged particles in the magnetospheric plasma. As they near our planet, they interact with Earth's magnetic field, which channels them toward the north and south magnetic poles. These energized particles from the sun, mainly electrons and protons, precipitate into the Earth's upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere) at speeds of up to 45 million mph (72 million kph), but our planet's magnetic field protects us from the onslaught. The form of the aurora, occurring within bands around both polar regions, is dependent on the amount of acceleration imparted to the precipitating particle. The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emit light of varying colour and complexity.
During the Summer in the Arctic Circle, when the Aurora Borealis isn’t visible, it is Winter in Antarctica so the Aurora Australis will be visible, and vice versa.
For stunning images visit the NASA gallery
You can also discover more about the auroras here via the following links: