By: Madison Waterman

What is it?

The Aurora Borealis is when particles from the sun hit atoms in Earth's atmosphere, they cause electrons in the atoms to move to a higher-energy state. When the electrons drop back to a lower energy state, they release a light. This process creates the beautiful aurora, or northern lights.


When: The aurora borealis/australis was discovered in 1612.

Who: Pierre Gassendi discovered the Aurora Borealis.

Where: You can see the Aurora borealis from the northern and southern hemispheres. It is known as the Aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere and Aurora australis in the southern hemisphere. The aurora's are mirror like images that occur at the same times, with almost the same shapes and colors.


The colors depend on different types of gasses that trigger the atoms. Oxygen emits either a greenish-yellow light(the most usual light)/nitrogen generally gives off a blue light/oxygen and nitrogen molecules also emit ultraviolet light, which can only be detected by special cameras on satellites. The Aurora peeks through the sky about every 11 years. Sunspots can help cause the Aurora.
Real Time Video of Aurora Borealis 27.08.2015

Go to twenty for seconds in the video.