12 Fascinating Facts

Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, are streaks of greenish-blue light seen in a clear night sky. As they sway and twirl, they appear and go in the blink of an eye. The auroras result from solar wind and Earth’s magnetic field interacting. Particles charged with energy are emitted from the Sun and make up the solar wind. In the Earth’s magnetic field, they are dragged towards the poles tremendously. When particles clash with atoms as well as molecules in the ionosphere, kinetic energy is converted to visible light.

What Are Northern Lights?

The aurora is caused by charged particles from the Sun colliding with the Earth’s atmosphere. The northern and southern hemispheres’ magnetic poles are visible from space, as are the lights. For those in the northern hemisphere, they go by the names “Aurora Borealis” and “Aurora australis,” respectively. Light green and pink are by far the most typical hues for auroral displays. There have been reports of hues ranging from crimson to violet. As far as color is concerned, many different shapes and sizes of lights may be seen in the sky, including streaks of light, arcs of light, rippling curtains, and shooting rays that cast a gloomy shadow over the horizon.

History of the Northern Lights

A 30,000-year-old cave picture in France shows the northern lights, while Italian scientist Galileo Galilei created the word “aurora borealis” in 1619. Astonishment has engulfed civilizations around the globe since that time, with many origin tales ascribed to the dancing lights. The northern lights are the reflection of the Valkyrie’s armour in a North American Inuit tradition, while the Vikings believed they were the reflection of the spirits playing a game of ball with a walrus head.

The northern lights were also noted in the chronicles of early astronomers. According to NASA, a royal astronomer working for King Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon recorded observations of the aurora on a tablet dating from 567 B.C. In comparison, a Chinese account from 193 B.C. also mentions the phenomena.

It wasn’t until the start of the twentieth century that theorists attempted to explain the northern lights phenomenon. Birkeland argued that electrons released by sunspots were steered toward the poles by Earth’s magnetic field, resulting in the atmospheric lights. Birkeland died in 1917. Therefore, the hypothesis wouldn’t hold up for long.

How Scientists explain northern Lights

Fortunately, we have the Swedish Institute for Space Physics in Kiruna, studying the Northern Lights for decades. The solar wind helps the ionosphere’s particles fly at breakneck speeds. Particles clash with atoms when they enter the atmosphere. Despite losing some of its energy, the particle is able to keep moving, albeit at a slower speed. A second atom is smashed into it at some point in time.

The energy that has been released from the atoms that have collided with the particles is visible in the form of a flash of light. There are more atoms in the air the closer you go to Earth. After colliding with several atoms, the particle steadily loses energy as it slows down, eventually stopping roughly 100 km above the Earth.

12 Fascinating Facts

In 1619, Italian scientist Galileo Galilei initially referred to the Northern Lights as the Aurora Borealis. He was the first to put a written account of the occurrence together. Using the words 'Aurora' and 'Borealis,' Galilei characterized the aurora as an atmospheric reflection of sunlight.
As the aurora's color deepens, the aurora rises higher in the sky. Higher than usual concentrations of solar particles in the oxygen suggest a distance of up to 400 kilometers.
A snowflake is a one-of-a-kind piece of art. The North Pole exerts a gravitational force on the colliding particles, resulting in the atmospheric interaction. The lights come on as soon as the energy is released. Variables such as gas composition, velocity, and interaction all play a role in generating ever-changing variety.
In Alaska and Greenland, the Northern Lights are seen as a bonus of living there. In the end, it's not so hard to put up with the constant cold if you can get a glimpse of the aurora. Both are the most excellent viewing places since they are so near to the Northern Hemisphere.
Showtimes and durations are subject to change without notice. If you want to see the Northern Lights, you'll need a lot of patience. While the best times to wait are between 10 p.m. and 1 in the morning when visibility is at its highest, the best times to wait are between 4 p.m. and 6 in the morning when visibility is the lowest. A show's running time is also affected by how strong the solar wind is coming from the Sun at the time.
The Northern Lights have made a name for themselves in Northern Finland. With the introduction of glass igloos and opulent suites, tour operators on this side of the globe raised the bar for aurora viewing experiences. Because of the pleasant warmth, you can fully enjoy the experience without being concerned about the cold.
Abisko, Sweden, is one of the most incredible spots to see the aurora because of its minimal cloud cover. You'd be tempted to visit Sweden's Lapland only to see the Northern Lights. The country's Abisko and Aurora Sky Station made the list of the best places to see the Northern Lights. It offers a 100% success rate during the first three to five days of your stay.
In Swedish folklore, the Northern Lights are considered a good omen and a sign of good fortune. Because of its proximity to the Arctic Circle, it is a popular destination for tourists. Northern gods' gifts, according to specific cultures. As a result, local anglers look to the lights to signify a promising fishing season.
The Northern Lights aren't the only place to see such a sight. They can be found on every planet in our solar system, including Mars, Neptune, Saturn, and Jupiter, to name just a few. The materials that make up these strange lights are different from those on Earth, even though the aesthetics are almost identical. Because of the abundance of hydrogen on these planets has significantly brighter and more intense ultraviolet light.
In Chinese dragon folklore, the northern lights have a role. Due to China's location, sightings of the lights are usually uncommon. So, when significant solar events occurred in China, they hugely affected people. Many early Chinese dragon stories are claimed to be connected to these unusual light displays, which are interpreted as a conflict between good and evil dragons.
In Europe, some saw the aurora as an omen of war. It wasn't everyone's belief that the lights were a sign of gods or good fortune. Indeed, only weeks before the French Revolution, the sky above the British Isles was claimed to have 'blazed crimson.' On the other hand, the lights were seen as a negative omen in Italy and France, which might mean everything from war to pestilence. Keep a close check on your health if you see the lights!
The Earth's magnetic field distorts during an auroral display. Magnetic field distortion occurs as a result of solar wind arriving at Earth's surface. However, a small percentage makes it into the atmosphere near the two magnetic poles before being deflected away by the Earth's magnetosphere. The release of photon energy occurs when charged particles collide with gases in our atmosphere.