What are the Northern Lights / Aurora Borealis?
The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, are a natural phenomenon that occurs in the Earth’s polar regions. It is a spectacular light show that illuminates the night sky with vibrant colours, ranging from green and yellow to purple and pink. The Northern Lights are a stunning display of the beauty and wonder of our planet, and they have fascinated people for centuries.
So, what are Northern Lights, and how do they occur? The Northern Lights are caused by the interaction between charged particles from the sun and the Earth’s magnetic field. These charged particles, also known as solar winds, are composed of electrons and protons that are emitted by the sun’s corona. When these particles collide with the Earth’s magnetic field, they are channelled toward the polar regions, where they collide with atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere.
The collisions between these particles and the atoms in the Earth’s atmosphere release energy in the form of light, creating the stunning display of the Northern Lights. The colours we see in the Northern Lights depend on the type of atom or molecule the charged particles collide with. For example, collisions with oxygen atoms produce green and yellow light, while clashes with nitrogen atoms produce blue and purple light.
The Northern Lights can be seen in the high-latitude regions of the Earth, especially in the Yukon in Northwest Canada. The best time to see the Northern Lights is during fall & winter when the nights are longer and darker. However, the Northern Lights are not always visible, and their intensity and frequency vary depending on solar activity and other factors.
The Northern Lights are not only a beautiful natural phenomenon but also have cultural and spiritual significance. Indigenous communities in the polar regions have long associated the Northern Lights with the spirits of their ancestors and the natural world. In addition, many cultures see the Northern Lights as a sign of good fortune and prosperity.
In conclusion, the Northern Lights are a breathtaking natural phenomenon that occurs when charged particles from the sun collide with the Earth’s magnetic field. The colours and intensity of the Northern Lights vary depending on the type of atom or molecule the charged particles collide with. The Northern Lights are not only a beautiful sight but also have cultural and spiritual significance. If you have the opportunity to witness the Northern Lights, it is an experience that you will never forget.