An orbiting satellite acquired this view of the beautiful aurora borealis, or northern lights, on the North American morning of October 8, 2012. The lights were caused by a storm on the sun several days earlier. The northern lights in this photo stretch across Canada’s Quebec and Ontario provinces.
The Suomi National Polar-orbiting Partnership (Suomi NPP) satellite acquired this image of the northern lights, which resulted from eruption on the sun’s surface on October 4, 2012. That solar eruption sent a coronal mass ejection or CME – a plasma of charged electrons and protons from the sun – hurtling toward Earth. A few days later, the storm from the sun caused a geomagnetic storm on Earth, as the solar particles struck our planet’s magnetic field. In other words, it stirred up the magnetic field and produced gorgeous displays of the aurora borealis, or northern lights.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.