On the left is and aurora oval before the auroral breakup occurs
On the right is a supercomputer simulation reveals how auroral breakups develop
Hot charged particles, or plasmas, gather in near-Earth space -- just above the upper atmosphere of the polar region -- when magnetic field lines reconnect in space. This makes the plasma rotate, creating a sudden electrical current above the polar regions. Furthermore, an electric current overflows near the bright aurora in the upper atmosphere, making the plasma rotate and discharge the extra electricity. This gives rise to the 'surge', the very bright sparks of light that characterize substorms.