AURORA BOREALIS IN THE NORTH
Scientists and Auroras
Scientists have spent many hours studying these lights, trying to understand how it came to be. One of the early theories was that the Northern lights are a reflection of the light from the ice caps. The first scientist who started seriously studying this phenomenon was Galileo Galilei who came up with the name aurora borealis borrowing names from Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn, and Boreas, Greek name for the northern wind.
Auroras on Other Planets
Because there are magnetic fields on other planets in the Solar System and deep atmosphere on Jupiter and Saturn, the gas giants, they have spectacular auroras. Mars also has auroras, although much weaker than on Earth.
Where to Go to See It?
The best places to view auroras are high northern latitudes during the winter, Alaska, Canada, and Scandinavia. During very large solar activity events, the aurora may be seen throughout the US and Europe, but these events are rare. The furthest it has been recorded was in Mexico City back in 1958.
Various debris, radiation, and other magnetic waves from space attack Earth daily. Without a shield, there would be no life on the Earth. Our planet’s magnetic field does a good job of protecting us and deflecting the deadly rays, including the ones from the Sun. When the particles approach the globe, they are drawn to the poles.
What Are the Northern Lights?
Solar wind or particles from the Sun rush towards the Earth at a tremendous speed of 90 miles per second on a journey of 93 million miles through space to tackle the Earth. When they enter the Earth’s atmosphere, they are mixed with oxygen and nitrogen gases and create light.
When Can You See Aurora Borealis?
Technically speaking, you can see it whenever you want. There is always some aurora at some place on Earth. However, it is better to wait until winter time because the air is much crisper when it is cold.
Northern Lights’ Partner
Many have heard of Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights. However, there are also Southern Lights called Aurora Australis. It seems only natural that this phenomenon occurs on both ends of our planet.
How Long Does It Last?
The duration of the phenomenon may vary. Some of them are quite short and last only few dozen minutes. However, when the Sun is especially active, one can enjoy their beautiful view for days.
What Is the Altitude?
Typically, auroras happen at the altitude of about 60 to 190 miles. If you notice purple color in the lights, then it is at 50 miles above the sea level. There have been auroras that happened at the altitude of as high as 310 miles.
A Colorful Phenomenon
Most of the time auroras are green. However, based on the chemical combination and altitude, one can see pink, yellow, violet and blue colors. Sometimes white and orange colors also appear.
Eyewitnesses said the lights produce a sound that sounds like applause. However, the actual sound of an aurora is in the range outside of human hearing. The frequency of an aurora song is 7 – 13 gigahertz while people start hearing sounds at 16 gigahertz.
The Shapes of Auroras
Because auroras depend on the Sun’s activity, when the Sun is calm, the auroras are just a blanket type with no or little color variations. However, when there are numerous solar flares, the Northern Lights become a spectacle not to be missed because they dance, swirl, change color and even race in curtains throughout the sky.
Eskimo Tribes and Auroras
Eskimo tribes, who had centuries of observing the phenomenon, believe it is light falling from the windows of the heavenly palace. This palace is invisible and the souls of hunters who died already live in it. When these hunters miss their previous home, they open the windows of the palace and people on Earth see the magical radiance.
Posted on December 5, 2013, in ARTICLES, IMAGES and tagged attraction, Aurora, borealis, earth, images, international, natural, nature, northern lights, online, photos, pictures, polar, pole, post, Solar System, sun. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.