The Magnificent Northern Lights!

Brilliant ribbons of green light fill the dark winter sky.

One of the most beautiful phenomena in nature is the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights. Aurora comes from the name of the Roman god of the dawn. Borealis comes from the Greek god of north wind. An aurora is a natural light show that appears in the night sky. Auroras happen when solar wind from the Sun moves small particles of gas toward Earth. These electrically charged particles give some of their energy to atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere. This transfer creates new energy in the form of light.

The Northern Lights occur around the North Pole because the incoming particles have an electric charge. The Earth’s magnetic field pulls them toward the pole. When the particles collide, we see light! The Northern Lights are most commonly seen in northern countries such as Norway, Sweden, Iceland, and Canada, to name a few. Northern Lights can appear anytime but are not visible anywhere in the world. The best time to see them is on dark, clear nights in the winter between late October and the end of March. The light display comes in different colors. They travel across the sky like ribbons of neon light. The primary color is green. Sometimes hints of purple, blue, or pink are visible, too. The Northern Lights are most visible late at night when the sky is very dark. If you go on an adventure to see the Northern Lights, pay close attention. The spectacular light show may only last for a few minutes.

What Do You Think?    What else would you like to see in the far north after viewing the Northern Lights?

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