The solar system: What are auroras?

Did You Know: Space – What are auroras?

Auroras are naturally occurring light displays that can be seen near the north and south poles.

Auroras are formed when particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere at high speed and hit the gases there.

This creates colorful curtains of light that appear to float in the sky.

Different patterns

Auroras paint amazingly beautiful patterns in the sky.

Sometimes the patterns are swirly or shaped like spirals.

Different colors

You can spot a lot of different colors during an aurora display.

The most common color is green, but you may also see purple, pink, red, and yellow.

Are there auroras on other planets?


Auroras sometimes appear at Saturn’s north and south poles. This false-color image shows a dazzling green aurora display around the gas giant’s south pole.


Auroras on Jupiter are the most incredible in the whole solar system. This aurora over Jupiter’s north pole covers an area bigger than planet Earth!