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NASA - Magnetic Reconnection

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Published on Feb 1, 2011

On February 2nd and 3rd there is a 20-35% change of geomagnetic activities in high latitudes. A solar wind stream is heading for Earth. So how do these aurorae happen?

This science visualization shows a magnetospheric substorm, during which, magnetic reconnection causes energy to be rapidly released along the field lines in the magnetotail, that part of the magnetosphere that stretches out behind Earth. This released energy is focused down at the poles and the resulting flood of solar particles into the atmosphere, causes the auroras at the North and South Poles.

Credit: NASA

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