During solar storms, aurora can be viewed a lower latitudes in regions which normally cannot see aurora. What physically allows for the aurora to be seen at lower latitudes? Is it the influx of energy causing the atmosphere to expand into magnetic field lines carrying charged particles?

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    $\begingroup$ I don't have enough knowledge to answer, but my assumption is that a solar storm caused by a coronal mass ejection throws off orders of magnitude more material than the Earth typically encounters from the "normal" solar wind. Earth's magnetic field gets distorted, allowing ions to interact with Earth's atmosphere at lower latitudes, instead of being redirected towards the poles when the magnetic field isn't so distorted. $\endgroup$ Commented May 17 at 21:28


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