There are poems the earth writes upon the sky. And the Aurora is one of them; a poem of pure beauty and art that can mesmerize a beholder to the optimum degree.
Aurora Borealis, the other term for polar lights or the northern lights is one of the spectacular sights in the dark skies of winter in arctic or Atlantic high altitude regions.
CAUSE OF SUCH DAZZLING LIGHTS:
These lights are consequences of disturbances occurred in the magnetosphere of our planet caused by solar wind.Well the lights don’t just appear here for no reason ;they have roots to the centre of our solar system:the Sun.
The sun releases a stream of charged particles like electrons, protons, alpha particles, etc. from the upper atmosphere also called the corona. Despite the sun’s immense gravity, these particles somewhere become able to escape from it due to high energy acquired from high temperatures in the sun’s upper atmosphere or corona. They move at supersonic speeds(faster than sound) and travel almost 150 million kilometers to reach the earth. The solar winds take 40 long hours to reach here. But it’s not easy after that too as they have a big obstacle in front of them to penetrate into the earth’s atmosphere: the Magnetosphere.
We can say it’s kind of a trap for charged particles where they get manipulated or affected by the object’s magnetic field. The earth’s magnetic field or magnetosphere is believed to be due to electric currents in the conductive iron alloys of its core, generated by convection currents due to the escape of a high amount of heat energy from the core.
FORMATION OF AURORA:
The magnetosphere plays the role of resistance to the solar wind, but still, some charged particles get briefly trapped in the ring-shaped holding areas of the planet. This region is called the ionosphere where these charged particles collide with atoms of oxygen and nitrogen from our atmosphere from which energy is released in the form of light or photons causing brilliant lights called the aurora. The charged particles when colliding with oxygen atom produce red and green displays and when collide with atomic nitrogen produces blue aurora, and purple aurora when colliding with molecular nitrogen.
WHERE TO SEE:
Auroras are usually seen in Alaska, Northern Canada in North American regions and Norway, Finland, Sweden in European regions. During active solar flares, they’re also seen in Scotland and Northern England in the UK. Winter is probably the best time to visit these beautiful places due to lower levels of light pollution and clean and fresh air etc. which is normally during September, October, March, and April.
So get ready and pack your bag for the next European winter to have a glance at the most dazzling lights you would have ever seen.
Author: Som Abhishek