Three Interesting Facts About the Aurora Borealis

The aurora borealis has long lit up our imaginations. It’s arguably the most beautiful natural phenomenon in the night skies. It’s all the more beautiful because it occurs in northern latitudes, what you might called the wildest frontiers of all. Northern lights holidays are a great way to see the aurora borealis, and will take you to stunning locations like Sweden and Norway.

Here are three interesting facts about the Northern Lights:

Whilst we have only recently learnt exactly what cause the northern lights, the lights have been seen by many cultures throughout history. Actually the name Aurora borealis comes from the Roman god of the dawn “Aurora” and the Greek god of the winds, “Borealis.” The Vikings also wove many legends around the lights, thinking of them as reflections off the shields of the Valkyries.

The real cause of the lights is just as interesting. What we see as a kaleidoscope of colour is in fact electrically charged particles that originate from the sun hitting the ionosphere. It’s  one of the most visible demonstrations of solar activity that we ever get to see and a poignant reminder of our closeness to the solar system’s central star.

Whilst we know a lot about the scientific causes of the lights we still have trouble predicting when they are most active, although this usually coincides with solar activity, e.g. solar storms. However, we can say that the best times to see the lights are between September and October and March to April.