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auroral oval

A Dictionary of Weather

Storm Dunlop

auroral oval 

The region within which auroral activity occurs at any one time. The oval form is a reflection of the distortion of the Earth's magnetosphere by the solar wind, such that the long axis of each oval lies along the line joining the magnetic pole to the Sun, being farthest from the magnetic pole on the night-side of the Earth. The ovals may be regarded as relatively fixed in space while the Earth rotates beneath them. Not to be confused with auroral zone.