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With This Ring...

When we look up and see the Northern Lights, we are only seeing a tiny section of a huge auroral oval.

Auroras form in rings centered over the Earth's Geomagnetic Pole - the pole of the Earth's geomagnetic field closest to the Geographic North Pole (True North).

The geomagnetic field surrounds the Earth and extends into space as the magnetosphere, and the Geomagnetic Pole is the centre of the region around which the Northern Lights can be seen.

Click for more information. As the rings center around the geomagnetic poles and not the geographic poles (which are the center of the Earth's rotation), the auroral ring is not consistent with patterns of daylight and darkness caused by that rotation. Rings form around the North and South poles at the same time, although they can't be seen when it is not dark.

The most active part of the ring moves as the Earth's magnetic field shifts because of changes in the solar wind or the currents that cause the aurora.

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Library: Northern Lights, Arctic
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Double-click any unlinked word DICTIONARY: Just "double-click" any unlinked word on this page for the definition from Merriam-Webster's Student Electronic Dictionary at Word Central.
Arctic Library ARCTIC LIBRARY & GLOSSARY: Check this section for an index of the rest of the things you really need to know about the Arctic.
All sorts of Arctic Maps ARCTIC MAPS & WEATHER REPORTS: Maps of the Northwest Passage, explorers' routes, iceberg sources, Nunavut, the Arctic by treeline, temperature...
Links to related sites. ARCTIC LINKS: Even more information! Links to sites related to the Arctic and "Iceberg: the Story of the Throps and the Squallhoots".
A Guide to Arctic Sunrise and Sunset GUIDE TO ARCTIC SUNRISE & SUNSET: How much sunlight or darkness is there in the Arctic on each day of the year?

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