Aurora Borealis Facts

Sometimes called polar or northern light, Auroras are formed when solar storm coming from the sun reaches the earth's atmostphere through the magnetic fields lines at the north and south poles.

When the particles from the sun interacts with the gases in our atmosphere, it results in stunningly beautiful displays of light in the sky around the Arctic and Antarctic regions.

Below are some of the facts about the Aurora Borealis:

  • Even though Auroras are seen at night, there are actually caused by the sun.
  • Aurora is the short term, which is also known as Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, and is a phenomenon often visualized at the North pole skies.
  • The northern lights are a proof that the earth’s magnetic field is strong, and that charged particles from the sun enters the Earth’s magnetic field. It’s the reaction of them that forms these strange lights in the sky.
  • The earth’s geometric pole and magnetic pole are not exactly on the same line. As a result you won’t find the auroras to be forming on the exact pole, and rather a little south to it.
  • The charged proton and electrons from the sun gets into the earth’s atmosphere near the poles due to the strong magnetic fields. The oxygen and nitrogen molecules being abundant in the air get bombarded by the charged particles to gain energy. Later when they relax, they release that energy in the form of the light. Nitrogen emits red, violet, orange, and blue colored lights while oxygen emits green and yellow lights.
  • The most common aurora light colors seen, are violet, yellow, blue, green, orange, pink, red and white.
  • The aurora lights are too bright and hence can be observed from space satellites. Also images of the lights can be clearly taken. They are as brighter that even from other close planets the lights would be visible near the poles of the earth.
  • Aurora lights are formed on other giant planets too like Jupiter and Saturn, and to some extent on Uranus. Since the magnetic fields of these planetary giants are higher than that of earth thus they get stronger auroras which were photographed by the spacecrafts Voyager 1 and 2.
  • Although aurora lights are a resultant of charged particles giving off their energy, yet the temperature that high up in the air is really less and thus these lights are like cold fires.
  • The polar lights are better visible through a camera lens and better captured in photographs than the human eye can visualize while looking at the sky. The reason is that the red light falls at such part of the spectrum which is barely visible to the eyes.
  • The aurora lights colors are formed on the basis of atmospheric altitude. At a height of 241 km red and green lights appear, and at a height of 96.5 km violet and purple lights are seen.
  • Under stable conditions the lights may look as a stable band of colors. But when there is a strong solar storm then the color band may look like dancing and changing colors.