The beautiful dancing lights of the aurora borealis are often seen across Canadian skies. But where do they come from? 

In short, the northern lights are a result of charged particles from the sun interacting with the Earth's magnetic field.

As particles from the solar wind follow the lines of our protective field down to the poles of our planet, they collide with the individual atoms of our atmosphere to produce the spectacular light show.

For more information on the best times to look up and catch the northern lights, check out Canada's Space Weather forecast service online.

If you have a science question you'd like answered, send Johanna Wagstaffe a tweet (@Jwagstaffe) or an email: johanna.wagstaffe@cbc.ca.