Heaven’s Fascinating Light Show

Nature: No human being could create this kind of display

The Northern and Southern Lights (more commonly known as the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis) have fascinated human beings since the beginning of time, at least those who live near the northern and southern poles of the earth.

The video above gives you a time-lapsed display of the Aurora Borealis, and it is truly wondrous. But what actually creates this kind of light show?

Well, it’s all about ions.

An article on the Royal Museums Greenwich website, “What Causes the Northern Lights?”, says that

Solar storms on our star's surface give out huge clouds of electrically charged particles. These particles can travel millions of miles, and some may eventually collide with the Earth.

Most of these particles are deflected away, but some become captured in the Earth’s magnetic field, accelerating down towards the north and south poles into the atmosphere. This is why aurora activity is concentrated at the magnetic poles.

Here are a few other quick facts about the Auroras:

  • The wavy patterns are caused by the waves of the earth’s magnetic field causing what looks like “curtains” of light.

  • The closest the ionic interaction comes to the earth is about 80 miles, but the upper end of the phenomenon can extend thousands of miles above the earth’s surface.

  • The gases of our atmosphere give off colors when they are heated causing the greens (oxygen) and purples, blues, and pinks (nitrogen).

  • In rare cases, intense reds occur when high altitude oxygen interacts with solar particles.

Enjoy the light show. It’s less than two minutes.