What Causes Northern Lights and When Can You See Them?
Electrically charged particles in the sky, in large numbers, traveling
at high rates of speed are what causes Northern Lights. As these particles
speed along toward Earth, they collide with air particles along the magnetic
field. This is when the sky lights up and the colors reflect what gases are in
the atmosphere at the time, with the most common color being yellow green. The
yellow green color comes from the oxygen, the red color comes from the nitrogen
and oxygen mix, and the blue color comes from the nitrogen alone.
The charged particles actually come from the sun. The condition of the
weather on the sun determines if we see the beautiful aurora in the sky. Once
the particles are caught in the magnetic field of the Earth, they are pulled
around to the Polar Regions. This is when the lights are displayed in the areas
closest to the Polar Regions such as Norway, Alaska and Canada.
Can You See Northern Lights?
Now that you know what causes Northern Lights, you need to know when you
can see them. The best time to see the lights is in the winter months. The
reason why that is, is that the sky is its darkest in the winter and no other
lights appear in the sky to distract from the beautiful show.
Depending on where you are, the lights will show every night, every
other night or even a couple times a month. The area that has the most views of
the Northern Lights is Norway. You can see them almost every other night if the
sky is clear. The truth is that you can see the lights in the regions south and
north of the aurora zone as well. However, you might have to wait for just the
right time if you are outside of Norway.
Since you now know what causes Northern Lights, and when you can see
them, you can plan to see this incredible light show sometime in the future.
Although you have to see them in the winter months, Norway is popular because
of the mild winters that make it a little nicer than some place where the
temperatures fall well into the single digits.
Although we know what causes Northern Lights, there are still those who
are skeptical as to their true cause. Because science is always studying the
phenomenal occurrence, more and more people are taking the trip to the Polar
Region to see what the beauty of the lights is all about. They soon become
believers and follow the Northern Lights and the Southern Lights to learn as
much about them as possible.