What Causes Northern Lights and When Can You See Them?

Mar 26 08:51 2009 Adam Carter Print This Article

Many people have asked the same question for years, they want to know what causes Northern Lights and when can they be seen. The lights seem to be a mystery, but there are a variety of explanations that actually make sense. Once you hear more about the lights that illuminate the sky, you will have all the answers you need.

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Northern Lights Explained


Electrically charged particles in the sky, in large numbers, traveling at high rates of speed are what causes Northern Lights. As these particles speed along toward Earth, they collide with air particles along the magnetic field. This is when the sky lights up and the colors reflect what gases are in the atmosphere at the time, with the most common color being yellow green. The yellow green color comes from the oxygen, the red color comes from the nitrogen and oxygen mix, and the blue color comes from the nitrogen alone.


The charged particles actually come from the sun. The condition of the weather on the sun determines if we see the beautiful aurora in the sky. Once the particles are caught in the magnetic field of the Earth, they are pulled around to the Polar Regions. This is when the lights are displayed in the areas closest to the Polar Regions such as Norway, Alaska and Canada.


When Can You See Northern Lights?


Now that you know what causes Northern Lights, you need to know when you can see them. The best time to see the lights is in the winter months. The reason why that is, is that the sky is its darkest in the winter and no other lights appear in the sky to distract from the beautiful show.


Depending on where you are, the lights will show every night, every other night or even a couple times a month. The area that has the most views of the Northern Lights is Norway. You can see them almost every other night if the sky is clear. The truth is that you can see the lights in the regions south and north of the aurora zone as well. However, you might have to wait for just the right time if you are outside of Norway.


Since you now know what causes Northern Lights, and when you can see them, you can plan to see this incredible light show sometime in the future. Although you have to see them in the winter months, Norway is popular because of the mild winters that make it a little nicer than some place where the temperatures fall well into the single digits.


Although we know what causes Northern Lights, there are still those who are skeptical as to their true cause. Because science is always studying the phenomenal occurrence, more and more people are taking the trip to the Polar Region to see what the beauty of the lights is all about. They soon become believers and follow the Northern Lights and the Southern Lights to learn as much about them as possible.

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About Article Author

Adam Carter
Adam Carter

The auroras (also known as the northern lights) are one of the wonders of science. Let northernlightsguide.com provide you with great information on this spectacle.

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