Aurora Borealis, or the Northern lights, have been an object of fascination for millennia. These lights paint the sky at night and leave viewers to marvel at the natural phenomena.
This Northern beauty is as rich in history as it is in scientific background, showcasing breathtaking colors that streak the sky and countless locations to sit back and watch the show.Starting as early as 28,000 B.C Aurora Borealis has caught the attention of onlookers and left a lot for the imagination.
This is evident by the countless conspiracies and legends surrounding them. The lights have even inspired some ancient bewildered viewers to create artwork. In France, this natural phenomenon is illustrated in caves and are thought to date back roughly 30,000 years ago. One of the earliest accounts of the lights is from China, and tries to give an explanation for the seemingly odd occurrence. In order to explain the unknown many cultures believed that the lights were an indication of destruction or war. All around the world cultures associated the lights with negative omens or happenings.
Influential authors and astronomers such as Aristotle, Descartes, Goethe and Halley have all made mention the infamous Northern Lights. The word “Aurora Borealis” was first used by astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1616. The name comes from a combination of the Greek god Boreas and the Roman goddess Aurora. Boreas was the god of the icy northern winds while Aurora was the goddess of the dawn. From cave paintings to scholarly research or gods the Aurora Borealis has a rich history full of mystery and excitement. While it’s fun to think that Northern Lights appear as an omen of bad luck or a prophecy eluding to war, in reality, there is a lot of science behind this dazzling light display. The sun has many magnetic fields which cause the sun to tilt on its axis, these fields can knot up and burst, creating sunspots.
From these sunspots, particles caused by the rising and falling temperatures escape into space. Solarwinds, which another word for particles of plasma in space, are hurled around space and take a 40 hour journey to Earth. But the wait is worth it, because these solarwinds eventually create the natural phenomena of the Northern Lights. The captivating colors of the northern lights are caused by the particles colliding with oxygen, this causes the yellow and green colors to appear. A collision with nitrogen can cause the colors red, violet, and occasionally blue. The type of collision can affect which color is projected in the sky. For example, instant nitrogen can result in the color red while molecular nitrogen creates purple. Not only is color affected by the type of collision, but it can also be influenced by alitude.
Green colors will usually appear near 150 miles up while