Spectacular Aurorae Erupt Over Norway Over the weekend, the Earth’s magnetic field was struck by a coronal mass ejection (CME). The CME — a vast bubble of solar plasma that had erupted from the sun on Jan. 19, 2012 — took longer than expected to travel through interplanetary space, but on Sunday it made contact.
Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2012 nominations – in pictures
The aurora borealis over Høgtuva Mountain in Norway. The Earth's magnetic field funnels particles from the solar wind over the polar regions. More than 80 kilometres above the ground, these collide with molecules in the atmosphere causing them to glow: green and pale red for oxygen and crimson for nitrogen Photograph: Tommy Eliassen/Royal Observatory