How the Northern Lights form

The Northern Lights were the talk of the weather world last week with a huge geomagnetic storm bringing a chance for us to see them here in Michigan.

While we didn't see them here, lots of people did see them in northern Michigan like Cameron Nixon up in the UP who shared some photos.

The Northern Lights happen when charged particles on the surface of the earth get shot off in a solar flare. These charged particles race off at over 6.7 million miles per hour and interact with earth's atmosphere, creating the beautiful colors we see.

But recently some citizen scientists took pictures and videos of a rare aurora color combination that is making scientists change the way they think about the Northern Lights.

Alan Dyer caught red and green colors together in the sky near Calgary, Canada. These two colors together are extremely rare, and scientists think that it's different particles that inspire the different colors.  

Falling protons create the green color, that they already knew, but now they hypothesize that falling electrons create the red bands. When the solar wind carries both to earths outer layer, the ionosphere, and both rain down, you can get this rare color combination.

There is still a lot that science doesn't know about the Aurora Borealis, but we're learning more every day.