What are the Northern Lights?
The Northern Lights are the resulting impact of electrically charged particles from the Sun that enter the Earth’s atmosphere and collide with gaseous particles. The Aurora Borealis are seen above the magnetic northern pole and the Aurora Australis are seen above the magnetic South pole.
There is a connection between the auroras and the activity of spots on the Sun. Solar winds, which are electrons and protons escaping the Sun’s magnetic field, are blown towards the Earth and increase the occurrences of the auroras. Most of the particles are deflected by the Earth’s magnetic fields, except for at the magnetic poles, where the field is feebler.
The lights appear in many different shades such as red, yellow, green, blue and violet. However, pale green and pink are the most commonly reported shades. The colors that are displayed are connected with the kind of gas particles that collide with the Sun’s electrically charged particles. The pale green color is produced by low-altitude oxygen molecules that exist approximately 60 miles above the Earth’s surface. The more sporadic all-red auroras, alternatively, are produced by oxygen located in a much higher altitude, about 200 miles above the Earth. Additionally, purple-red auroras and blue auroras are produced by Nitrogen. Generally, the auroras extend between 50 miles to 400 miles above the surface of the Earth. There are many different arrangements that the auroras form, such as scattered clouds of light, to streaming, arcing, rippling, or shooting rays that fill the sky with an iridescent glow.
When can you see the Northern Lights?
The Aurora Borealis, meaning “dawn of the north,” are beautiful lights that dance across the northern sky of Iceland. The Northern Lights are visible in Iceland. They are best experienced in the southern and eastern areas of Iceland, at midnight, on clear nights from September to April. The phenomena occurs all year long, but because of Iceland’s midnight Sun during its summer months, it obscures the light of the Aurora Borealis.