Travel Guide: The Aurora Borealis – What is it?

The Aurora Borealis, according to me before I conducted my research, was just another Photoshop gimmick. There was no way I could believe that nature can compose a color mix that humans can only do using design software. Such doubts made me ignore any content that discussed the topic. Little did I know that I was shutting out a feature that I today wonder why it is not in the list of the world’s wonders.

Here is the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, for you.

What is it really?

If you need to see one of nature’s most perplexing features, travel to either the northern or southern hemispheres in winter. The locals and tour agents know the best places and time. The  Aurora Borealis appears as a gigantic oval shape over the two magnetic poles of the earth. Interestingly, the two poles experience the magic feature at exact times. When it happens, vivid color displays fill the skies. Green is usually the dominant hue. However, other colors join in the interplay to form mixtures of violet, blue, red, yellow and green fields. Better still, no one pattern is similar to the other: at times, the shapes will be small patches, arcs, streamers, shooting rays, rippling curtains or calm blankets of vibrant color that glows.

What causes Auroras?

Scientists try to explain the phenomenon: they state that when gaseous particles in our atmosphere collide with others emerging from the Sun, auroras are born. The colors occur depending on the type of gas particles that collide. Green, they add, is common because of oxygen particles that are in plenty in our atmosphere. Higher attitude, gas concentration and the presence of Nitrogen in the air determine the resulting colors.

When to view the Aurora

When it is winter at the poles, make a trip there. This is because the sun experiences significant events, and the earth’s atmosphere is calm. The North, however, is the best place to view the northern lights. Viewing time is usually from 10pm to about 2 in the morning. Iceland, Alaska, Norway, Sweden and Finland are the favorite viewing sites.

Now that I am sure you will research into this topic deeper, post any interesting information that you will come across in the comments section.

Happy travels!

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