Aurora Borealis

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Aurora Borealis

The Aurora Borealis is a beautiful display of lights created by nature that appear in the night sky. "Aurora Borealis", the Latin name of the aurora of the northern hemisphere, means the red dawn of the north. The name comes from the famous Italian scientist Galileo Galilei who, among other things, studied the lights around the year 1600. In Rome, were Galileo was living, the red color dominates, but the most common color is actually greenish-yellow, which I will cover later in the presentation. The Vikings in the year 700-1000 called it simply "northern lights," and in early England they called it "The Merry Dancers" referring to the way the aurora moves.

Originating in the atmosphere high above the surface of the earth, the northern lights can be seen during dark hours in the polar regions of the northern hemisphere. There are similar lights that appear in the southern hemisphere.

The southern lights and northern lights are identical phenomenons. When you have a northern lights display, you will also have an equally large southern lights display. The only reason we don't hear about southern lights much is that there aren't much settlements in Antarctica. Southern lights occur around the geomagnetic South Pole. The scientific name for southern lights is Aurora Australis.

The amazing occurrence of the aurora actually starts high above the earth's atmosphere. The sun emits a continuous stream of ionized gas during its solar flares. This gas consists of electrons, protons and helium nuclei. The stream of gasses leaving the sun is known as the solar wind. As the solar wind approaches Earth, the particles are influenced by the Earth's magnetic field and are guided toward oval zones around the magnetic poles. The solar wind particles then collide with air molecules in the upper...