Northern Lights

How The Northern Lights Are Formed, Where to Watch

Have you ever asked yourself how the northern lights are formed? The northern lights are a naturally formed image of lights in the night sky in the northern hemisphere. Although lights of many shades are seen in this natural phenomenon, also called aurora borealis and aurora australis, the most common ones are pale green and pink. Colors in shades of blue, yellow, red, green, and violet can also be seen. The northern lights can be seen in many different forms. Lights that can change color and shape also move. Oxygen and other gases create the auroral image of the northern lights.

northern lights forming in the night

Every year, hundreds of thousands of people go to locations where the northern lights can be watched. It is very difficult to catch the northern lights because this natural phenomenon occurs at random moments. A clear night sky is essential to see the northern lights. November, October and April are the best times of the year to see the northern lights. During these months you are likely to see the northern lights every evening with a clear night sky.

Solar Wind

Solar Wind and northern lights

The solar wind is something different from the light that the earth receives from the sun. Solar winds carry electrons and protons away from the sun in space. When the solar wind is strong enough, it can enter the earth’s magnetic field. The magnetic field tries to push the solar wind away. In this way, the wind begins to circulate around the earth. The solar wind and magnetic field direct electrons and protons from the center of the planet to the south and north poles.

The solar wind crosses the magnetic field and enters the earth’s atmosphere from the north pole. The atmosphere is a blanket of gas that protects us from harmful radiation from the sun and includes the air we breathe. When electrons and protons from the solar wind collide with particles in the earth’s atmosphere, energy is released. Gases in the atmosphere express this energy in the form of light.

Colors of Gases in the Atmosphere

Colors of Gases in the Atmosphere

Different gases in the atmosphere create different colors of the northern lights. The atmosphere contains the most concentrated oxygen and nitrogen gases. Oxygen creates green and red lights, while nitrogen creates blue light. Human eyes also see green light most brightly and clearly in northern lights.

Best Viewing Location of the Northern Lights

There is no set time for the northern lights. Because the lights can appear before it gets dark. Remember that the best light shows can happen at the most unexpected times. In order to see the lights in the clearest and most colorful way, you should go to the darkest place you can find. It’s good to be in the middle of a river or bush free of man-made light. The northern lights can be seen in cities in many different countries. Northern lights can be seen in northern Canada; St Petersburg, Russia; Jukkasjarvi, Sweden; Svalbard, Norway; Kakslauttanen, Finland; Reykjavik, Iceland and Northern Scotland.

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