aurora borealis Natural light displays in the northern polar sky. The Northern Lights occur at the magnetic fields of the polar regions and are the result of charged particles of protons and electrons, from the magnetosphere around the Earth. These particles collide with molecules and atoms from the Sun, then carried into the ionosphere on the solar winds. The emission of different gases in the particles form coloured lights - the atomic oxygen causes either a green/white or red light and the molecular nitrogen are purple.
aurora borealis The aurora was named after the Roman goddess of dawn, and was long thought to be produced by sunlight reflected from polar snow and ice, or refracted light much like rainbows. An Eskimo tale records that the northern lights are spirits playing ball in the sky with a walrus skull. Another legend, calls them the flaming torches carried by departed souls guiding travelers to the afterlife.
Aurora borealis The best places to view the Aurora Borealis are within the auroral oval, such as Alaska, Yellowknife and Goose Bay in Canada, Norway, Finland and Russia. The best times to see the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is in fall and spring.
Aurora borealis An intense auroral display can cause many problems on the ground, such as intense electric currents along electric power lines (causing blackouts) and oil pipelines (enhancing corrosion). The aurora can disturb the ionosphere and disrupt short wave communication. Auroral discharge electrons have even damaged the electronics and solar panels of communications and meteorological satellites, rendering them inoperable.