Aurora borealis above the Brooks Range in Alaska
© Noppawat Tom Charoensinphon/Getty Image
Light show on a lonesome highway. Aurora borealis
This intense aurora borealis was captured over the Brooks Range, the stretch of mountains that forms the North Slope of Alaska. Journey hundreds of lonely miles northward via the Dalton Highway and you'll descend into a vast coastal plain before finally reaching the Beaufort Sea coast, where nothing but icy water lies between you and the North Pole.
Auroras are formed by solar winds. They are collections of particles launched from the sun's corona, which are captured by Earth's magnetic field when they reach the atmosphere. As these particles are swept along the arcing path of the magnetic field, they collide with nitrogen and oxygen atoms, releasing photons that create a brilliant glow.