Those particles consisting mostly of protons and electrons are driven by the solar magnetic field: this is the Solar Wind.
The Solar Wind travels through space at a speed of 500 km per second.
HOW IT WORKS
Earth is shielded against lethal high energy particles from the sun by a magnetic field called the Magnetosphere
When the solar wind hits the magnetosphere, a fraction of the particles are trapped and plunged into the earth atmosphere through the magnetic poles
The magnetosphere is distorted by its interaction with the solar wind
Penetrating the high atmosphere (between 80 and 700 km altitude) electrons and protons from the solar wind collide with molecules of oxygen and nitrogen leading them to emit light. This is the Aurora display.
COLORS OF THE AURORA
They depend on the molecules that are excited, the altitude and the power
of solar storms.
250 km and above
4/4IN THE SKY
100 km and below
Sebastien Aubry - SierraEchoBravo.com
Solar flares, eruptions, prominences and coronal mass ejections release a stream of high energy particles in space.
SOLAR FLARE ENERGY
The equivalent of 10 million volcanic eruptions at the same time
SOLAR FLARE FREQUENCY
From several a day to
less than one a week