Aurora is one of the seven wonders of the natural world and aurora is a beautiful glow of light that is seen sometimes in the night sky in the direction of the North or South poles. The ones we see in the Northern Hemisphere are sometimes also called the northern lights. The Aurora can been seen from late August until late April.
Aurorae are caused by very fast, charged particles—mostly electrons—that came from the Sun. Because of the earth’s magnetic field, these are partially deflected so that they come into our atmosphere toward the North and South poles. When nitrogen molecules of our air are hit by those fast particles, they become very excited molecules.
They become ordinary molecules again by giving off energy as light. That gives the faint wavering glow we call an aurora.
Auroras seen near the magnetic pole may be high overhead, but from farther away, they illuminate the northern horizon as a greenish glow or sometimes a faint red, as if the Sun were rising from an unusual direction. Discrete aurorae often display magnetic field lines or curtain-like structures, and can change within seconds or glow unchanging for hours, most often in fluorescent green. The aurora borealis most often occurs near the equinoctes.
The northern lights have had a number of names throughout history. The Cree call this phenomenon the “Dance of the Spirits”.
The Aurora Borealis forms when charged protons and electrons emitted from the sun as a solar wind are drawn in towards us by Earth’s magnetic field and collide with atoms and molecules in our atmosphere. These collisions result in countless little bursts of light that make up the aurora. Collisions with oxygen produce red and green auroras, while nitrogen produces pink and purple colors. The magnetic field is more concentrated around the Poles, hence this reaction encircles the polar regions of the earth and occurs at an altitude of 40-400 miles (65-650 km) in a zone called the Auroral Oval.
The Best way to see the Aurora Borealis is by seeking the Northern Lights. Although there is an aurora borealis that occurs in both the northern and southern hemispheres, the southern hemisphere locations are much more challenging.
The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) is one of natures unmissable masterpieces. Imagine standing on the shores of a remote Greenland fjord. It’s a cold, clear and dark night and frost crackles underfoot. A sheen of new ice covers the water, and icebergs drift silently by on the tide. The sky is pierced by a million stars and the moon begins to creep up from behind a range of wild peaks.
The aurora borealis, or northern lights, can be experienced or seen at different times throughout the year, however the greatest chances occur during the months of March, April, September and October. For the common visitor these months typically represent times of the year that are too cold. A late summer visit to Alaska or northern Canada also presents a fair chance of experiencing the northern lights. The norther lights may also be experienced in northern europe, with Norway being one of the more frequently pursued destinations for those specifically seeking the northern lights.