Showcasing awe inspiring pictures of the Northern lights (Aurora Borealis) captured by lucky photographers who thankfully for us were in the right place at the right time. We have also included some interesting facts about this amazing natural phenomenon. Enjoy…
The name “Aurora Borealis” is credited to Galileo Galilei (1616)
and means “northern dawn.”
The term aurora borealis is jointly credited to have first been used by Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655) and Galileo Galilei (1564-1642), who both witnessed a light display on Sept. 12, 1621.
Auroras tend to be more frequent and spectacular during high solar sunspot activity, which cycles over approximately eleven years.
Yellowknife (Northwest Territories, Canada) is the capital for aurora tourism.
The earliest known account of northern lights appears to be from a Babylonian clay tablet from observations made by the official astronomers of King Nebuchadnezzar II, 568/567 BC.
Auroras can last as little as 4 seconds to as long as 30 min (Denlinge, 2001)
Auroras occur on both the dark and the light side of the earth but you can only see them on the dark side.
Scientists think that one aurora my carry millions of mega-watts which would be enough energy everybody in the United States would ever need. (“Those Mysterios Lights in the Sky”, 1987) . The massive electrical activity of the northern lights transmits eerie crackling and whistling noise over radio receivers.
The Northern Lights are named after the Roman Goddess of the Dawn. (Mechler, 1999)
No two Northern Lights are the same. They are always of different sizes and different colours.
The colors green and yellow are produced by oxygen, while the colours red, violet, purple and blue are produced by nitrogen. Violets will sometimes form a border around the green auroras at lower altitudes.
Images of auroras have even been seen in ancient cave paintings in France.
Auroras occur when charged particles from the sun’s solar wind interact with Earth’s magnetic field (at altitudes above 50 miles, or 80 km).
During autumn and winter there is a strong chance to see the aurora during the evenings. Periods of high pressure weather systems are best as they present clear cold skies, a low moon and no urban lighting is an advantage. A close look on the satellite observations of the sun are important and it is possible to forecast the aurora activity within three days accuracy as NOAA polar satellites monitor the aurora activity and solar storms on the sun.
The winter season is the best time to see the lights. During the winter, these lights can be seen from the Arctic even during the afternoon. The best time to see the lights is late evening between the hours of 10pm and 2am.
You can view the Aurora Borealis from anywhere in the world although more frequent at higher latitudes, closer to the poles (such as in Canada, Alaska, Antarctica). They have been seen closer to the equator as far south as Mexico. To view them, look in the direction of the closest pole (the northern horizon in the northern hemisphere, the southern horizon in the southern hemisphere).
Churchill is the only place where you can experience the Northern Lights from the observation deck of a world famous Tundra Buggy. Churchill lies directly beneath the Auroral Oval in the Northern Hemisphere, with auroral activity occurring on over 300 nights a year.
Some North American Inuit call the aurora aqsarniit (“football players”) and say the spirits of the dead are playing football with the head of a walrus.
Time Lapse of Aurora Borealis