Facts about Aurora

We found 16 facts about Aurora

Northern light that has delighted people for centuries

Auroras can be different. Sometimes it is bright and dancing, shimmering with different colors, sometimes it appears still. It has always fascinated people all over the world. The inhabitants of countries where it appears regularly have been trying to understand this light phenomenon for centuries. They created various theories that became stories and entered the canon of folk tales.

The aurora is an inseparable element of the polar regions.
It occurs in high latitudes, mainly beyond the Arctic Circle. It also happens, however, that under favorable conditions, it can be observed around the 50th parallel.
There are two types of auroras: northern - Aurora Borealis, and southern - Aurora Australis.
Auroras are caused by magnetic storms in the Sun.
Huge amounts of high-energy charged particles (mainly protons and electrons) are then ejected from the surface of the Sun. They form the so-called solar wind. The accelerated particles of the solar wind are intercepted by the Earth's magnetic field and interact with the ionized atmosphere at an altitude of about 100 km.
The particles that make up the solar wind, upon contact with the Earth's magnetic field, spiral along the lines of this field and collide near the magnetic poles with molecules of nitrogen and oxygen, etc.
They arouse them, and these, returning to the ground state, radiate energy in the form of light quanta.
The color of the aurora depends on the height at which the atoms are colliding, and the type of atom.
If the collision is with nitrogen, we see the color purple and maroon. Collision with oxygen gives green and red colors. Yellow is the result of nitrogen and oxygen mixing. Lighter gases (hydrogen and helium) give a blue and purple color.
To the naked eye, we see the Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis lights as greenish and white. Full colors can only be seen in the photos.
This is because, in low light, the eye registers light with rods that are not color sensitive but respond only to light.
The greatest intensity of auroras occurs at maximum solar activity - this happens every eleven years.
Then you can observe auroras also in Europe.
Auroras take many shapes. They can appear in the form of colored rays, streaks, ribbons, curtains, crowns, arcs, and others.
The Aurora Borealis in the northern hemisphere is visible between September 21 and March 21, between 6 p.m. and 1 a.m. when it is dark outside.
The range of the region in Northern Europe includes the Kola Peninsula in Russia and the territory of three Nordic countries: Finland, Sweden, and Norway.
The Aurora Australis appears within the Earth's south magnetic pole.
The phenomenon can be observed in Tasmania, a mountainous island about 300 km south of the Australian coast, as well as in New Zealand. However, the most visible aurora is in Antarctica, where there is almost no artificial lighting.
Australians prefer to use the more accessible term - "southern lights" instead of Aurora Australis.
In Finnish, the aurora is referred to as "revontulet, " which means "fox fire".
The name comes from the legend of an arctic fox that ran north, spreading its tail sparks of fire shining in the moonlight.
In the language of the Sámi people (the native inhabitants of Lapland), the name of the aurora "guovssahasah" means "the sun shining in the sky in the morning or evening".
The Sámi people claimed that creating a song about the aurora borealis is dangerous and threatens to draw polar light on themselves, which bode inevitable death.
The phenomenon of the aurora borealis is the reason for increased tourism in the areas where it occurs.
In Finnish Lapland, a hotel (houses imitating igloos) was built, where the aurora can be admired lying down. The ceiling was replaced with a glass vault, and the interior was equipped with a smoke sauna.
Auroras are not only present on our planet.
They were observed on all the giant planets in the solar system: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune.
It is believed that the aurora phenomenon may occur on all other extrasolar planets that have a magnetic field and a magnetosphere exposed to stellar winds.
The resolution of the telescopes does not make it possible to capture an image of this phenomenon, but the emission of radio waves accompanying the aurora can be detected using radio telescopes.
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