Interesting Curiosities About the Aurora Borealis
The Aurora Borealis (or the Northern Lights) has some interesting particularities not everyone may be aware of. This article reveals some.
As mysterious a phenomenon as it still is, the Aurora Borealis has, in more recent times, been somewhat rationalised by scientific study. The actual spectacle of the lights in the sky is undeniably breath taking, particularly for the uninitiated, and the fact that science is now able to explain exactly how and why the phenomenon takes place has not lessened its mystique. Every year, many thousands of tourists embark on Northern Lights holidays, to discover for themselves the magic and mystery of this spectacular natural show.
A Scientific Explanation
Even with everything modern scientists have been able to ascertain and reveal about this unique phenomenon, there are still quite a few facts about it that remain firmly outside public consciousness. Anyone with an interest in such natural phenomenona is probably aware of how auroras are created and what they are composed of, but only true die-hards are likely to know about the particular facts below. These are the types of lesser-known facts about the Aurora Borealis that enthusiasts can use to impress their friends upon returning their once-in-a-lifetime experience.
Visible From Space
Most Northern Lights aficionados know when and where the lights can be seen on Earth – but what fewer probably know is that the Aurora Borealis can also be seen from space. Indeed, nature's light show is bright enough to be photographed by satellites – and has, on multiple occasions, been captured by their cameras. Similarly, should life exist on other planets in the solar system, in theory they would be able to see the aurora shining on the Earth's night side. The International Space Station even, on occasion, penetrates the Northern Lights, which are in its orbit.
Other Planets Also Have Them
Many people may assume the Northern Lights are a phenomenon exclusive to Earth, however this is not true. The phenomenon of the Aurora Borealis occurs in other planets of our solar system as well. Probes have photographed phenomena of this type on Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune, which means at least half the planets in the Earth's solar system experience them in some way, shape or form. Not all of these look the same, however – Saturn's, for instance, is more akin to a series of bright spots than the hypnotizing light show seen on Earth.
They Are Cold
A final interesting fact about the aurora is that it is cold. Despite being fiery in appearance, the phenomenon occurs in a part of the atmosphere where air density is so thin that temperatures within the lights end up being several degrees below zero.
These are just a few of the many fascinating facts about one of nature's most mysterious and beautiful phenomenona, and any enthusiast can continue to dig even deeper into into the properties and science behind the polar displays.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Kevin Collins is director of Aurora Nights, a company offering a select range of once in a lifetime holidays to see the Northern Lights. For the best Aurora Borealis hunting holidays, Iceland and Swedish Lapland offer an excellent opportunity. Aurora Nights is part of Weekend a la Carte, a family-run company with vast in-depth knowledge based on extensive travels, and passionate about giving superb client service.