What Causes the

Northern Lights?

Photo Source: NOAA

Engage What Do You See?

Part 1

  • The aurora borealis (northern lights) is a phenomenon that causes colorful lights to appear in the sky at the north and south poles.

  • P. 32

Q4. Observations:

(3 or more!)

Questions:

(2 or more!)

Engage What Do You See?

Part 1

5. What do you think might be causing the

lights to form?

6. The aurora borealis is visible at the

poles, but not where we live. Why do you

think that might be?

7. What other sources of light are visible

during the video?

Explore Space Weather

Part 2

Svalbard is the northernmost city on Earth. Watch the video and answer the questions.

8. What would it be like to live here? How is

it different from where we live? How is it

the same?

9. Think about the passage we read. What

do you think “the midnight sun” refers to?

10. What other observations, thoughts do

you have about the video?

Explore Space Weather

Part 2

EQ: What chemical and physical processes can we use to explain the aurora borealis? (We’re focusing on processes taking place on both the Sun and the Earth.)

Explore Space Weather

Part 2

We think of space as a vast void. However, the space within our solar system is not as empty as it seems. An atmosphere created by the Sun surrounds and fills the solar system.

As a result, our solar system experiences cosmic weather, complete with phenomena similar to wind, clouds, storms and hurricanes. Collectively, these phenomena are commonly referred to as space weather.

Explore Space Weather

Part 2

  • Web Quest: Visit the Space Weather Center links and complete your notes handout. Follow the links with asterisks (*) to answer the questions on the front. * = required

  • Explore any of the other links or click around the website to finish the back of your notes. Remember, you are looking for information to help you explain the cause of the aurora borealis.

Explain How Aurora Borealis

Part 3

Review your notes. Watch the videos and add to your notes. When you are done, complete the summaries on both the front and the back of your notes.

Works

Explain How Aurora Borealis

Part 3

The Secrets of the The Sun

Works

Elaborate

Part 4

  • Using the Cornell Notes Checklist, look through your notes and annotate. If you think something is missing, go back and add it.

  • Trade your notes with your partner and use the partner checklist to make sure the notes are annotated.

  • Look through your partner’s notes one more time. If you see any missing information or have any suggestions, write them on the back of the checklist.

  • Share your findings with your partner. Make any fixes or additions to your notes that you think are necessary.

  • Turn in your notes and your checklist.

Elaborate Predictions

Part 4

Pair/Share: Do you know what a sunspot is?

Elaborate Predictions

Part 4

Why do you think sunspots might be useful for monitoring the sun’s activity?

Elaborate Predictions

Part 4

What is a solar minimum?

2018 Explore Space Weather - Google Slides