Northern Lights brighten up North America

31st Oct 2011
Written by: Mary Short

Northern Lights brighten up North America

The Northern Lights are one of the most famous natural phenomenon’s in the world and seeing them are on most people's bucket list.

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For those looking to experience the Northern Lights on a gap year you usually have to travel to Scandinavia, such as Iceland and Norway, to see them, but things are looking bright for those wanting to discover the beauty of the lights.

Freak solar activity yesterday saw the Northern Lights, also known as the Aurora Borealis, leave the confines of the Poles and stretch much further than usual. The Lights were seen across half of northern America and as far south as Alabama. It is the second time in the last decade that the Northern Lights have been seen so far south.

The Northern Lights are a natural light display created by collisions of electrically-charged particles in the protective magnetic field around the Earth.

When the particles are carried towards the poles they react with ions in the atmosphere and the amazing light show is created in the sky. The sky is lit up with bright blues, greens, reds and yellows, creating one of the most amazing natural wonders.

MSNBC called it one of the “farthest-reaching auroral shows in years.”

While the aurora were stunning in the south, they were most vibrant and multi-coloured in northern America. Photographer Randy Halverson, who saw a beautiful green and red aurora over Wisconsin, told MSNBC: “At one point they were so bright they lit up the ground.”

According to the Daily Mail, others who witnessed the spectacle in America described seeing “the blood-red Northern Lights aflame in the night sky.”

For those of you who want to see the Northern Lights Tromsø in Norway is considered one of the best places to see them.

 

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? Do have have any plans to go and see them on a gap year?

Here are a couple of timelapse videos taken of yesterday's Northern Lights:

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