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Aurora Borealis Explained: Understanding Its Phenomenon

If you ask what are “Aurora Lights”, it is a natural light phenomenon in the dark sky.

It is a unique phenomenon taking place in the Northern Hemisphere where Solar radiation meets and collides with the Earth’s Magnetic Field.

It creates a unique and stunning green light show on the night sky, called auroras.

North light can be a common thing and also with a regular occurrence for the people staying in far northern latitudes.

What is Aurora Borealis?

The Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is a natural light display that typically occurs in the Earth’s northern polar regions.

The lights are caused by the interaction of charged particles from the Sun with the Earth’s upper atmosphere.

The particles stream down towards the poles along the Earth’s magnetic field lines, and when they reach the atmosphere, they collide with atmospheric atoms and molecules, causing them to emit light.

The most common colors of the Aurora Borealis are green and pink, but other colors can also be seen occasionally.

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What is Aurora Borealis
What is Northern Lights

People living in more temperate climates or even at the Equator never see the green lights.

What does Aurora Borealis mean ?

Definition: North Lights is generally referred to as Aurorae Borealis which is composed of 2 words Aurora as well as Borealis.

Word “aurora” is the name of the Roman Goddess of the dawn, she was travelling from east to west announcing the coming of the sunshine.

what is Aurora Borealis
What is Auroras Borealis

The word “Borealis” originates from Boreas which in Greek translates as the north wind.

Boreas was the purple-winged god of the north wind, among the four seasonal Anemoi (Wind-Gods).

Boreas was the God of winter that swept below the chilly mountains of Thrake (Thrace), chilling the air with his icy-breath.

Previous his hill house lay Hyperborea, a mythological land of everlasting spring unblemished by the god’s winds.

In ancient greek poets utilized the “aurora name” metaphorically to describe dawn. They usually stated the play of colours across the dark black skies.

What is Aurora Borealis 2022 Forecast and Solar Activity

According to NASA, Solar cycles last around 11 years.

This graph by NASA’s Marshall Area Flight Facility shows the ordinary variety of sunspots per month throughout 23 complete solar cycles since 1749.

This daily monitoring began at its research laboratory in Zurich, Switzerland.

According to the National Climate Service, “Solar Cycle 24 reached its optimum– the duration when the sunlight is most active in April 2014 with a peak average of 82 sunspots”.

For the past couple of years, we have actually been on the decreasing end of Solar Cycle 24.

The Solar Cycle has decreased to its solar minimum and also will likely continue to be there with 2022.

What are Aurora Borealis Forecast Today
Northern Lights Forecast Today

Currently, however, the rising speed of short-term sunspots is an indicator that solar activity will certainly once more be rebounding.

The sunspots increase in number and frequency until the solar optimum is reached.

Between 2023 and 2026 the sun will be most active and there will be more sunspots.

With more active sunspots, even more, solar flares take place, which are magnetic storms on the sunlight’s surface area.

These significantly hot aeriform eruptions reach 3.6 million ° F to 24 million ° F.

The sun also releases a lot of energy that travels towards Earth.

This creates geomagnetic activity and storms, which can be seen in the form of the northern and southern lights.

As the sunlight gets in Solar Cycle 25, we are ramping up for bigger, extra extreme episodes of solar activity, which converts to a larger, brighter aurora over the next five to 6 years.

Aurora live solar wind data and aurora model comes from National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Space Weather Prediction Center.

What is Aurora Borealis ?

Northern Light or Auroras Borealis is a special appearance on Earth sky in regions close to the North Pole. It is a phenomenon covered in secrets with several unidentified components.

Auroras are the result of interruptions in the magnetosphere triggered by the solar storm and solar wind.

These disruptions are sometimes solid adequate to change the trajectories of billed pieces in both solar winds in addition to magnetospheric plasma.

These bits, normally electrons as well as additionally protons, speed up right into the upper environment (thermosphere/exosphere).

What are the Aurora Borealis colours?

Usually, the colours associated with Northern Lights are green, pink, violet, yellow, blue as well as seldom orange or white.

The colours form when the digitally charged particles ram fragments in the ambience.

Yellow is formed when they hit oxygen, crash with nitrogen creates violet, red, pink and also rarely blue colours.

The color that is seen in the sky depends on what kind of gas is crashed into the atmosphere.

If nitrogen molecules are crashed into the atmosphere, then a purple color will be seen.

If atomic hydrogen is crashed into the atmosphere, then a blue aurora will be seen.

Colours of Auora Borealis are affected by altitude:
  • Yellow appears at approximately 240 kilometres high (152 miles)
  • Red appears over 240 kilometres (above 152 miles)
  • Blue will just appear at up to 97 km (61 miles)
  • Purple at above 97 km (over 61 miles)

Auroras Borealis will certainly display as fixed bands of light, curtains or arcs when solar flares are strong, dance overhead as a constantly transforming curtain of lights.

The Aurora Borealis Colors
The Northern Lights Colors

What is an Aurora Borealis?

The earliest mention of aurorae Borealis remained in 1616 when Galileo Galilei utilized the term “aurorae borealis” to explain the thumbs-ups in the sky.

He was naming them after Aurora – legendary goddess of the dawn and also Boreas – the greek name for the north wind.

The resulting ionization and excitation of climatic parts emit light of various colours along with complexity.

What is the aurora borealis Northern Lights
What is the aurora borealis Northern Lights

The type of the aurora, occurring around both polar areas, is depending on the quantity and speed of particles.

Speeding up protons generally produce optical emissions as situation hydrogen atoms after acquiring electrons from the ambience. Proton auroras are typically observed at lower latitudes.

According to Clark (2007 ), there are 4 main sorts of Northern Lights that can you can see from the ground degree, from the very least visible to extremely intense ones:

  • A mild radiance, near the perspective. This environment-friendly glowy slim smoke can be close to the limit of exposure yet can be distinguished from moonlit clouds due to the fact that stars can be seen undiminished via the glow
  • Patches or surfaces that look comparable to clouds
  • Arcs that curve throughout the sky
  • Rays are light and also dark stripes across arcs, going upwards at various heights
  • Coronas appear throughout the sky, as well as everything in between

Where is Aurora Borealis ?

If you want to see the Aurora Lights, you should know it is visible only in some countries during specific periods.

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The countries where you can see Northern lights are:

  • Auroras Borealis in Alaska
  • Auroras Borealis in Canada
  • Northern Lights in the United States
  • Auroras Borealis in Iceland
  • Auroras Borealis in Norway
  • Northern Lights in Sweden
  • Auroras Borealis in Lapland
  • Auroras Borealis in Finland

Read all about it here: Countries where Northern Lights are visible

When is Aurora Borealis?

Auroras Borealis generally move around in an ellipse around the Planet’s Magnetic Pole, that has a different place than the North Geographical Post, being a little offset and also closer to North of Canada.

North light can be a common thing and also with a regular occurrence for the people staying in far northern latitudes.

Individuals staying in even more warm climates and even at the Equator never ever see the Northern Lights. This happens because they can only be seen as far south as 35 degrees north latitude.

To see the North Lights you definitely need darkness, good weather conditions, which translates into a clear dark night sky.

They are visible from late August to early April and can show up anytime throughout the evening. In some areas like Tromso (Tromsø) or Abisko, the night can last as long as 1 day in winter months, so you have more chances to see Northern Lights in places such as this.

what is an aurora borealis auroras borealis
what is an aurora borealis

Nevertheless, there is no assurance that you will see North Light throughout your journey.

Even if you have the best location and climate, and the sky is clear without any clouds, you still might not see the northern lights.

That is mere because Aurora Lights does disappoint up almost everywhere and also does not last for life.

It is an ephemeral phenomenon that shows up in some locations at some minutes in the night.

You will highly increase your chances to see Aurora Lights if you go late September or late March.

Statistically, these are the two finest months when you can see the Northern Lights, merely since they are the months when the Equinox occurs.

What is Aurora Australis?

Aurora australis, also known as the southern lights, is a natural light display in the southern hemisphere.

Geomagnetic storms cause aurora australis. These storms occur when the sun emits large amounts of energy, interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field.

This interaction causes the charged particles to accelerate and head towards the north and south poles.

When these particles collide with atoms in the atmosphere, they cause the atoms to emit light. The different colors of aurora australis are caused by different types of atoms emitting different light colors.

It is caused by the interaction of charged particles from the sun with the Earth’s atmosphere.

The aurora australis is a beautiful display of nature, worth seeing in real time if you ever have the chance!

Aurora australis can be seen in Antarctica, New Zealand, Chile, and Argentina.

The aurora australis is often mistaken for light pollution, but it is actually a natural phenomenon.

The best time to see aurora australis is during the winter months in the southern hemisphere.

Aurora australis can be seen year-round if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time.

Conclusion: What is Aurora Borealis ?

It is a natural phenomenon reflecting on the dark night sky near the polar circle of the Earth.

When electrically charged particles from the sun collide with Earth’s atmosphere, they can create a beautiful green light. It can be seen in many different countries in the North latitude.

Logistical tips and tricks for your trip

Book your accommodation
We always use as they have the best price-quality ratio and they offer a wide range of hotels, guesthouses, apartments, and villas to choose from.

You will find here all types of accommodations, from the cheapest ones to the most luxurious.

Don't forget travel insurance
We never leave home without HeyMondo Insurance or Safety Wings Insurance as they offer the best services and a good value for money.

When we go for longer trips around the world we get Globelink Insurance as it offers a good cover for an affordable price.

Travel insurance will always protect you against unexpected costs caused by medical events like illness, injury, theft, or travel cancellation.

We never go on any trip without travel insurance and there were many cases when we had to use it.

Renting a car
We like to explore a country on our own and a car gives us the mobility and freedom to do that.

We always rent our car from Discovercars as they have free cancellation 48 hours prior to starting date and a wide range of car rental companies and options to choose from all over the world.

Tours and attractions
When we are looking for some adventure or we simply want to break up the monotony and discover new places, we always use GetYourGuide.

We love it because we always find the most amazing experiences, with free cancellation and a large variety of activities and tours to choose from.

Airplane tickets and holiday packages
Expedia is our ally when searching for the best price for airplane tickets as it works as an aggregator for a huge number of airlines and we always find the best price for our flights.

Travel tip: use Expedia when you are searching for holiday packages as they have many last-minute offers and great discounts for hotels, flights, and even the whole holiday packages.

Elaine Northcott

Saturday 7th of January 2023

I'm in Michigan, how far would I have to travel to see the Aurora Borealis

Sonia Hash

Saturday 7th of January 2023

Hi Elaine,

The northern you are in Michigan, the higher are chances to see the Northern Lights. Good spots to see the Aurora Borealis are around Lake Supperior in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. I hope you will be lucky enough to witness this magnificent phenomenon!

Scott Dittmer

Wednesday 8th of July 2020

Hi, Alex.

I too love to travel and decorate my home with momentos to help remember. The decorated my bedroom in an Alaska theme. I'd love to have a large print made of one of your aurora borealis photos. They are among the bests I've ever seen. I especially like the one that looks like an angle with a sword.