IMAGES: Northern Exposures

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Science  20 Jun 2003:
Vol. 300, Issue 5627, pp. 1855a
DOI: 10.1126/science.300.5627.1855a

The natural light show of the aurora borealis erupts when speeding electrons and other particles bash into molecules in the upper atmosphere, stimulating them to glow. Pictures can be found at the Polar Image Web site, a gallery boasting more than 25 years' worth of eye-catching photos snapped by amateur skywatcher Pekka Parviainen of Turku, Finland. Living so far north lets Parviainen aim his lens at subjects most of us never get a chance to see, including the aurora and diffuse, high-altitude noctilucent clouds, which appear mainly at twilight between 50° and 60° latitude. You can also browse a menagerie of clouds, relive recent eclipses and comet flybys, and admire dainty ice crystals.

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