|Aurorae over Ireland
A solar coronal mass ejection produced a rare intense auroral display far south over Ireland and the UK on the night of 27/28 February 2014. Peter O'Toole saw the magical scene on the north coast of Donegal, Ireland. He captured it with ultra wide 8 and 16mm fisheye lenses.
All images ©Peter O'Toole, shown with permission
|Right: Low energy solar protons and electrons when in concentrated enough streams (as from CMEs) and when the solar and Earth magnetic fields are opposed leak through holes in Earth's magnetosphere.
There they are stored in the magnetic bottle of Earth's long plasma sheath tail.
Magnetic reconnections and rearrangements eventually accelerate some downwards (others are ejected into space).
The now high energy particles collide with the upper atmosphere and excite oxygen atoms. Some of these remain collision free long enough to radiate the forbidden red and green light of the aurora.
See 100 hours in the life of a proton.