Aurora Borealis, Bear Lake, Alaska 

Aurora Borealis, Bear Lake, Alaska 

Check out this stunning and colorful Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, above Bear Lake, Alaska. The photo was taken by United States Air Force Senior Airman Joshua Strang, and was awarded first place in the Wikimedia Commons Picture of the Year 2006.

An aurora (astralis in the south and borealis in the north) is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere). The charged particles originate in the magnetosphere and solar wind and, on Earth, are directed by the Earth’s magnetic field into the atmosphere. [source]