Home » Articles » Weather and Climate » Auroras

Auroras

July 27, 2012 365 No of hits
0
Auroras

Auroras are one of nature's most spectacular displays of light. They may appear as sheets of luminous color that cover much of the night sky, or as a colorful, glowing arc that remains stationary for long periods. At other times they will appear to move around the sky resembling a waterfall of colors.

Auroras are created in the upper atmosphere when electrons from solar emissions that are traveling at about 1,000 miles per second collide with oxygen and nitrogen molecules. This collision produces flashes of light. The colors that we see depends upon the air pressure and the type of molecules that are involved in the collision. When there is an area of low-pressure and electrons collide with oxygen the flashes of light are a yellow-green. If these areas of low pressure are at higher altitudes the flashes are red, and a blue flash is produced when the collision involves nitrogen molecules. Their activity also appears to be cyclical in that they peak every 11 years, so the next peak period should be in the year 2013.

Although auroras take place in both the northern and southern hemisphere, they are most frequently seen in the high latitude Arctic and Antarctic regions. Since the southern auroras are concentrated around Antarctica and the southern Indian Ocean they are less often observed. They are known as the northern lights or the aurora borealis in the Northern Hemisphere, and the southern lights or aurora australis in the Southern Hemisphere. The northern lights have been observed as far south as New Orleans and have also been seen in Greenland, Iceland, Norway, and areas of Siberia. However, the best locations to observe these lights are in northwestern Canada and Alaska. Winter is also the best season to observe the lights since the skies are often clearer and the nights are longer. It is also easier to see them in areas that are away from the bright lights of large towns and cities. The darker the sky around you, the better your chances of witnessing these light shows.

They derive their names from Aurora, the Roman goddess of the dawn. Auroras are referred to in many of the writings of ancient Greek and Romans. In medieval Europe the northern lights were seen as an omen of approaching disaster and instilled fear in those who witnessed them. The natives of Alaska believed they were the spirits of animals they hunted, while other aboriginal people felt they were the spirits of their people. Today we just simply gaze at them in wonder and awe.

Tags:   Auroras   Southern lights   Northern lights   Aurora australis   Aurora borealis  

Group

Auroras
Auroras
Created on : November 06, 2012

Photo

Ni_271_192 Be the first to add photo

Discussion topics

Start new topic
1_s_ab45ca8ce8fb1beb
0 Comments

Auroras are one of nature's most spectacular displays of light. They may appear as sheets of luminous color that cover much of the night sky, or as a colorful, glowing arc that remains stationary for long periods. At other times they will appear to move around the sky resembling a waterfall of...

By: Richard Martine Created 74 months ago

Add New Comment

You've decided to leave a comment. That's fantastic! Let's have a personal and meaningful conversation. Thanks for dropping by!

Groups

Related Groups

  • Auroras
    4387_s_df2aad818c294fa1
    Auroras

    Auroras are one of nature's most spectacular displays of light. They may appear as sheets...

    Read More »
  • Sleeping Beauty
    3011_s_4d7e5f280521b062
    Sleeping Beauty

    The story of Sleeping Beauty combines elements of Norse mythology, French literature and...

    Read More »
  • Seals
    3867_s_c67dd701d3a0a77a
    Seals

    Seals have suffered greatly at the hands of man, with some species hunted nearly to...

    Read More »

Topic

Related Group Topics

  • Auroras
    Auroras
    By : Richard

    Auroras are one of nature's most spectacular displays of light. They may appear as sheets of luminous color that cover much of the night sky, or as a colorful, glowing arc that...

    Read More »
  • Sleeping Beauty
    Sleeping Beauty
    By : Richard

    The story of Sleeping Beauty combines elements of Norse mythology, French literature and German folklore. Disney and more have since sanitized the fairy tale shared by the Grimm...

    Read More »
  • Seals
    Seals
    By : Richard

    Seals have suffered greatly at the hands of man, with some species hunted nearly to extinction for their fur. They have become the topic of great controversy and have received...

    Read More »

Album

Photo

No Photos availabe for this.

Most Rated

Most Commented

Most Viewed

  • Healthcare Industry
    Healthcare Industry
    Healthcare Industry

    In 1995, total health care spending in the U.S. was just over $1 trillion. Fast forward to...

    Read More »
  • Dance
    Dance
    Dance

    Dance is a part of almost every society and culture in the world, and is believed to have been...

    Read More »
  • Email etiquette
    Email etiquette
    Email etiquette

    E-mail has revolutionized communication in our businesses and personal lives. But there is a ...

    Read More »