April 25

Nothern lights

Creative Commons License Juho Holmi via CompfightHirvisuo

 Have you ever seen beautiful colorful lights in the sky? You may know them as the northern light but the scientific name is aurora. The northern lights are also called aurora borealis or the polar lights. In the south, they are called southern lights, or aurora australis. Is it magic or is it science? Keep reading to find out.

This natural display of lights is mostly seen in high latitude regions, around the Arctic and Antarctic. You are probably wondering how the northern lights are created? Well here is how it works. It begins with a solar flare on the sun’s surface. This solar flare breaks away from the sun and travels through the universe. This is called solar wind.

When the solar wind reaches the Earth’s atmosphere, it hits the Earth’s Magnetosphere. This collision sends the solar wind toward the earth’s northern and southern poles. These collisions result in countless, little bursts of colorful light. The color of the aurora is different depending on the altitude, amount of atomic oxygen and other molecules.

The colors are red, green, blue, ultraviolet, infrared, yellow, pink. My favorite color is the ultraviolet. This color is seen using special equipment and is not visible to most humans. The first person to capture an image of the northern lights was Carl Stormer who had to use special cameras. Now we can capture beautiful images of the northern lights thanks to digital cameras.

This really cool reaction encircles the polar region of the earth and occurs at a zone called the “Auroral oval”. One day I hope to travel to the auroral oval and see these amazing lights.

Do you like northern lights or ever heard of them?