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Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis

In which layer of the atmosphere do the Auroras occur?


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December 12, 2014 6:40PM

In the upper mesosphere and the lower thermosphere, gas particles become electrically charged. Because these charged particles are called ions, this part of the thermosphere is called the ionosphere. In polar regions these ions radiate energy as shimmering lights called auroras, usually in latitudes above 50 degrees.

The Aurora Borealis and its southern counterpart the Aurora Australis are formed high in the atmosphere in the ionosphere, which is sometimes considered as part of the thermosphere, the outermost actual atmosphere. Above this layer, the exosphere has so few molecules that they can escape into space.

For more information visit the question "What causes the Aurora Borealis?"