The Dance of the Lights in the Northern Sky

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The majestic Aurora Borealis.

To see it personally is my dream. The moment I saw those lights in a picture and discovered they are real, I fell in love with it at once. I decided long ago that once I see it with my own eyes, I may just be ready to die.

But what makes the Northern Lights ever be possible?

I have learned of so many folklore related to the auroras, different tribes and groups of Eskimos have different beliefs about the wonderful auroras. Some believe the lights are spirits of the dead, dead children, dead old maids, dead deer, dead walrus, seals, beluga, and these spirits dance in the sky. Some believe the lights are ghosts of slain humans, warriors mostly, who are fighting in the sky. Some also believe that these lights are spirits of the dead playing some ball games above.

Other folklore tells that the Northern lights are actually tails of a magical fox and this fox is sweeping its colorful tails over the earth. Others also say that since the the lights are spirits of the dead, you should not attract the ghosts by whistling, waving and singing at the dancing lights, otherwise, the spirits will take you away. If such thing happened, you should clap your hands so they won’t be able to take you. There are others who believe that a woman who gives birth while looking at the Aurora lights will have a crossed eye child.

Whew! There are so many! And thinking about these stories and beliefs make these dancing lights all the more majestic and wonderful.

But even though the different folklore may seem to be really interesting, I find the science behind these magical lights amazing as well. How could tiny things not visible to the eyes make such perfection be possible?

The dancing lights of the Aurora Borealis are actually made possible by the interaction of the solar wind electrons and the atmospheric elements. This is what happens: The solar wind is a stream of electrons coming from the sun. They travel for about a million miles per hour. The moment they reach the earth, the solar wind will flow through the earth’s magnetosphere, an area which has highly charged magnetic fields. And then from there, the solar winds will enter the earth’s atmosphere, which contains various gas particles. The electrons from the solar winds will interact with the gaseous particles of the atmosphere and the result is tada… the colorful lights of the auroras. The electrically charged particles shift for every interaction and this shifting currents cause the ‘dancing’ waves of the auroras.

Fascinating, huh. Here’s more, when the electrons interact with oxygen atoms, the result is either a green or a red light, depending on the altitude of the particle interaction. If the electrons interact with nitrogen atoms, the result will be blue and/or violet colors.

The same dancing lights can also be found in the southern hemiphere, called the Aurora Australis.

God is truly magnificent. For the Northern Lights to be actually naturally occurring is something that keeps anyone think how beautiful the world truly is. And there are so much more of this.

There are so much more.

I really hope with all my heart though, that one day, I will get to see s much of His amazing creations, with the Aurora Borealis on top of my list.

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