Aurora Borealis or the Northern lights is a mystical phenomenon where the sky is awake and dancing to the tunes of Mother Earth. Watching the Northern lights is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for most of us. As you stand under the bright green sky which is changing every second, it is a feeling that cannot be described.
Humans have been fascinated by them since biblical times. Ancient Babylonian writings on stone tablets depict a possible sighting as early as the year 567 BC. So today, where, when and how could you experience this natural light-show ? Let us get right into it, all you need to do is bookmark these locations.
What are the Northern Lights/Aurora Borealis?
The phenomenon of the Northern Lights occurs when the solar flare, sun spots or sun storms send charged particles towards the Earth's atmosphere. These charged particles interact with oxygen and nitrogen creating a kaleidoscopic effect, where the light is swirling, flickering and dancing.
The earth’s magnetic poles draw these particles towards them through space, and hence, they are only visible in the two extremities of the Earth. Yes, the sister of Northern Lights, the Southern Lights or Aurora Australis exits but isn’t famous due to the lack of access to locations down south.
The colours of the Northern lights depend on factors such as which molecule did it interact with, what is the altitude of the collision and the what is the intensity of the solar flares. All-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Whereas nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.
Where can you see the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights occur between 60 and 75 degrees of latitude within a geographic area known as the aurora zone, of which Canada has the largest landmass but also covers northern Norway, Sweden, Finland, Alaska and Russia as well as all of Iceland. So, your chances of seeing the northern lights increase the further up North you go.