They are caused by photon emissions in the atmosphere – as Wikipedia explains it, “from ionized nitrogen atoms regaining an electron, and oxygen and nitrogen atoms returning from an excited state to ground state.”
That would be the Aurora Borealis, or commonly known as the Northern Lights. The sun constantly emits heat and sometimes solar flares, creating vast amounts of magnetized energy that generates outward into space. The Earth’s north and south magnetic poles attract and channel this energy to the polar regions. Electrons and protons are deposited in the high levels of our atmosphere, causing the Aurora. For pictures and more information on the Aurora, go to: http://odin.gi.alaska.edu/FAQ
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