What is Aurora Borealis

For many years now, people have been fascinated with the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) as well as the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis). The auroras surrounds both the northern magnetic pole and the southern magnetic pole and they take place when the solar wind produces highly charged electrons which interacts with the elements within the earth’s atmosphere. It is common for people to travel up to thousands of miles just to get a glimpse of the brilliant display of lights.
The Aurora Borealis are lights which are created when rapid electrons from an intense solar wind slams into the gas in the upper atmosphere. The lights can appear in several forms in the sky, such as arcs; scattered clouds; patches; streamers; shooting rays or rippling curtains. Auroral displays also appear in several colors but light pink and green are the most common ones. Some of the other reported shades include red, green, yellow, indigo and blue.
Some compare the mechanisms of the Aurora Borealis action to the way how television gives off electrons in specks of light whenever the screen phosphor-coated is impacted. However, the dynamics of this phenomenon are far more complex. Some aurora gives off energy that is probably derived from the dynamo effect of planetary magnetic field alongside the Earth’s magnetic field.
Solar wind streams from the sun at fast speeds of around one million miles-per-hour. After reaching the earth about 40 hours from leaving the sun, the solar winds follow the magnetic force lines which generates from the earth’s core as well as flow throughout the magnetosphere, highly charged magnetic and electrical fields.

The Northern Lights can be observed easily from the magnetic poles on Earth at around 1,500 miles or 2,400 km. The Earth’s magnetic poles are around 11° from the geographical poles and just to the northern section of Canada. This means that persons can see the lights easily from places such as Fairbanks, Alaska. On rare occasions, the phenomenon will become more intense during the magnetic storms and super solar-flares and the lights would be seen as far south as in Boston.
To date, some of the most brilliant photos of the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights have been captured from the International Space Station or Space Shuttle, which gives views at angles that one cannot see from the ground.
You can check the latest aurora borealis forecast on the real time map below. There have been many superstitions and mythologies surrounding the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights over the years. For instance, some gold miners from Alaska thought that they were images of the supreme mother lode. Most of the notions about the aurorae had been highly speculative until the introduction of scientific satellites. Today, the researchers have a better understanding of the lights and its improving steadily, but it’s still not perfect.