For Kindergarten - 2nd Graders

Imagine a sky full of really thin curtains stretching up into the night sky as high as you can see. Then like a breeze blowing through these curtains, they start to act like waves on a lake or on the ocean, way up high. These curtains almost look like they are dancing. Sometimes they move really quickly and sometime really slow an peaceful. These beautiful curtains can actually change colors, shifting through various soft greenish, bluish colors and sometimes even red!


Have you ever felt the wind?

The sun has wind too, although it's different from the wind on earth because it is made up of light particles.

The sun has lots of explosions called solar flares.

These explosions cause big bursts of light particles to leave the sun.
This creates a solar wind made up of light particles that floats off into space.
Because of gravity and the magnet of earth, that wind comes to our planet.

Put your first in front of your face with your thumb up.

Pretend that you are the sun and that your hand is the earth.
Blow on your hand.
The wind comes onto the top of the earth.
Do you feel the solar wind on your thumb?
You just made northern lights on the north pole.

Now lift your fist up high and blow on your pinky.
Do you feel the solar wind on your pinky?
You just made southern lights on the south pole.


Our planet has a strong magnetic field around it.
Because earth is like a magnet, the solar wind is attracted to the earth, especially to the North and South Poles.

Can you find the north pole on the top and the south pole on the bottom?

When the solar wind hits the Earth's magnetic field, some if comes into the Earth's atmosphere. Think of the atmosphere as a large ocean of air covering the entire Earth. When the light particles spill into this "ocean" the particles collide with gases in earth's atmosphere, the particles to glow. This glowing will be in shades of red, green, blue and violet and it can shift colors too.

If the glowing lights are in the north, they are called Northern Lights.
If they are in the south, what do you think they are called?
That's right -- Southern Lights.

Scientists call these lights the Aurora Borealis,
"Aurora" means "down," and "Borealis" means "north wind."
So they are are a north wind blown down.

These lights can be seen in Northern parts of North America, Europe and Asia. Sometimes people in the far northern states can also see the Aurora Borealis.

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights?

Here is a National Geographic video from Norway... (Sorry there is commercial first)