Come see the Aurora Borealis
A spectacular show of natural lights in the sky.
What is the actual cause of the Northern Lights?
Where is the best geographic place to see them?
They are normally seen in places in the arctic circle, such as Canada, Alaska, and Norway.
The Aurora Australis. What is the difference?
The aurora australis is like the aurora borealis because they happen for the same reason and look very similar. They appear at the northern and southern magnetic poles.
The best time of year
They also appear when there are solar flares from the sun. The flare sends the electrically charged particles towards Earth to create these magnificent, dancing lights.
How can we forecast when to view them?
What causes the different colors?
The color of the aurora depends on which gas is entering the magnetosphere and on how much energy is being exchanged between the particles. Oxygen emits either a greenish-yellow light or a red light. Nitrogen generally gives off a blue light. The oxygen and nitrogen combined emit ultraviolet light, which can only be detected by
special cameras on satellites.
Local Legends and Folklores about the Northern Lights
The Point Barrow Eskimos were the only Eskimo group to consider the aurora an evil thing. In the past they carried knives to keep it away from them.
"The ends of the land and sea are bounded by an immense abyss,
over which a narrow and dangerous pathway leads to the
heavenly regions. The sky is a great dome of hard material
arched over the Earth. There is a hole in it through which the
spirits pass to the true heavens. Only the spirits of those who
have died a voluntary or violent death, and the Raven, have been
over this pathway. The spirits who live there light torches to
guide the feet of new arrivals. This is the light of the aurora.
They can be seen there feasting and playing football with a
The whistling crackling noise which sometimes accompanies the
aurora is the voices of these spirits trying to communicate
with the people of the Earth. They should always be answered
in a whispering voice. Youths dance to the aurora. The
heavenly spirits are called selamiut, "sky-dwellers," those who
live in the sky.