Aurora Borealis: Nature Lights Up the Skies | The Thinking Blog ~ Knowledge Grows When Shared
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14 June 2007

Aurora Borealis: Nature Lights Up the Skies

All it takes is for the earth to have an atmosphere and the sun to eject ions at speeds up to 1200 km/second then BAM! You’ve got some unbelievable mother nature action. Imagine what people must have thought, thousands of years ago, when they saw these streams and swirls of light and color in the evening sky. Watching this spectacular celestial phenomena today, for that matter, is beyond spectacular.

[ Warning: Lots of images. Please allow for images to load. ]

Aurora happens in both the southern and northern hemispheres, particularly in the polar zone. It is called Aurora Borealis (also known as Northern Lights) in the Artic region and Aurora Australis in the Antartic region. Streaming plasma clouds, composed of fast moving charged particles, form a solar wind. It is the tangential interaction of the solar wind with the earth’s magnetic field that traps some of these charged particles. These trapped particles then flow along the magnetic field lines of the earth into the upper most regions of our planet’s atmosphere. That’s when the lights become manifest and their dance begins.

Schematic of Earth's magnetosphere


Aurora australis captured from space by NASA's IMAGE satellite.

Aurora australis as seen from a Space Shuttle

Aurora Borealis seen from the International Space Station (ISS)

The Northern Lights shine above Bear Lake, Alaska, US

Panoramic photograph from Edison, New Jersey, US

Red and green Aurora in Fairbanks, Alaska, US

Aurora Australis appearing in Swifts Creek, Australia

Green Aurora Over Lake Superior, Canada

Aurora Borealis as seen over Canada at 11,000m (36,000 feet)

Aurora sightings in Oklahoma City, US

Northern Lights over a house in Iceland

Aurora seen at night in Scotland, UK

Aurora over Arena, Wisconsin, US

View of the Aurora and Comet Hale-Bopp over Boston, US

Purple Aurora in Flambeau Lake, Wisconsin, US

Another one from Flambeau Lake, Wisconsin, US

Aurora Borealis with Orion, Unknown location

Missing information, Unknown location

Missing information, Unknown location

Missing information, Unknown location

Northern Lights - Prince Albert, Saskatchewan, Canada.
(Credit: National Geographic via Dark Roasted Blend) Photo by Kyle Anderson.


Aurora Borealis from Space

Aurora display in British Columbia, Canada

Second part of the time lapse video above

Aurora Borealis as seen from Vestby, Norway

This one is from Northern Wisconsin, US

Finally, one from the International Space Station (ISS)

Hope you enjoyed the show! Please share it with your friends and even organize a trip to see an Aurora with your own eyes.

This post was written by Jennifer Hitchcock from Life of a School Bus Driver. Images and videos collected by Ilker Yoldas from these sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 and 11. If you are interested in contributing to the thinking process and become a guest writer on The Thinking Blog, find out more information here and be my guest!

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