The aurora borealis, which happen at both the north and south poles, happen when extremely charged electrons from the solar wind (coming from the sun) interact with various elements in the earth's atmosphere. The solar winds leave the sun at incredible speeds of about 1 million miles per hour. When they ram into the earth they follow the lines of the magnetic force that is generated by the earth. charged electrical and magnetic fields. The magnetic field is thickest everywhere but the poles, which allows the electrons to enter the earth's upper atmosphere where they interact with oxygen, nitrogen and other gases to produce the interesting colors that appear in the sky. The aurora is also commonly called 'the northern lights'.