Nature Blows My Mind! The Science Behind Magical Northern Lights

Altitude and Colors

3 of 7
auroras photo

credit: Travel Manitoba

3 of 7

How Stuff Works goes on to explain: "The color of the aurora depends on which atom is struck and the altitude of the meeting. Green auroras mean that an oxygen atom up to 150 miles in altitude has been hit by an electron. Red auroras mean that an oxygen atom above 150 miles in altitude has been struck. A blue aurora means that a nitrogen atom up to 60 miles in altitude has been struck. And a purple or violet aurora means that a nitrogen atom above 60 miles in altitude has been struck."

So you can look up and know by the colors you're seeing just how far up in the atmosphere particles are being affected.

Go to next page