Several hundred kilometres above Earth’s surface lies the Magnetosphere, the magnetic envelope of the planet. The magnetosphere extends into space and shields the Earth from the harmful effects of solar wind (streams of charged particles emitted by the Sun), such as the stripping away of the atmosphere and the erosion of surface materials. Thus, the magnetosphere is essential to safeguard life on Earth. 


When charged particles from solar wind collide with the Earth’s atmosphere the gases emit light. These particles are trapped within the magnetosphere, which guides them towards the Earth’s polar regions, creating the mesmerising displays of light known as the auroras – australis in the Southern pole and borealis in the northern pole (or just Southern and Northern lights). Although the magnetosphere is not visible, compasses and auroras are some of its sensible features.