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Northern Lights: Facts Vs Fiction

The Northern Lights are a stunning display across the night sky in the Northern hemisphere. There are many tall tales about them, but cut through the fiction and get to the facts.

White is the most common color

Google Northern lights and most websites will display Northern lights in green color. The most common color is white, but it’s not uncommon to see blue, green, purple or red lights. The air (either oxygen or nitrogen) around the electrons and protons determines the color of the lights.

The lights can also be visible in Southerly countries

Typically the Northern lights are on the poles. However, due to change in solar activity, people in countries like Italy and France have also reported seeing the lights.

Aurora Borealis does not mean Northern light

Aurora Borealis means “dawn of the north.” The North pole people borrowed the word Aurora from the Roman myth, and it means goddess of dawn.

There are different types of Northern lights

There are different shapes of auroras all with their characteristics such as;

– Veils
– Coronas
– Rays
– Patches
– Band
– Curtains

Some auroras are either diffuse or discreet. Diffuse auroras wave particles scatter the electrons and make them parallel to the magnetic line. Discreet auroras are intense and look like someone has just fired a huge electron gun.

Although less obvious, Southern Lights in Antarctica also exist

Called the Aurora Australis, they are largely identical to their northern counterparts.

With so much fiction surrounding the lights, the information above will help you distinguish between the facts and fiction of the Northern lights.