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10 Interesting Facts About The Northern Lights, New Year Resolutions to Make You A Better Traveller. Consequently more travellers are visiting Scandinavian countries in the hope of catching a glimpse of the Aurora Borealis. Here are some of the most interesting facts, myths, and stories about the aurora borealis. However due to their location over places with not much land mass, such as South Georgia island, New Zealand and the Falkland Islands, they are not as popular. Solving the mystery may reveal more about how the brain and sensory perception work than the phenomena of the lights. 9. According to scientists, the upper atmosphere where the lights occur is too thin to carry sound waves, and the aurora is so far away that it would take a sound wave five minutes to reach ears on the ground. Spotting the Northern Lights is becoming one of the most popular bucket list adventures. Our blog features our latest adventures, plenty of useful travel tips, fabulous travel photos and, we hope, lots more stuff to whet your appetite for your next holiday. They fear that to whistle in their presence might result in the whistler being spirited away. (11 minute read), 5 major benefits of the Poon Hill trek (4 minute read). Reply, I am interested in a tour including Northern Lights in December preferably after the 10 th. 2. Galileo Galilei and Pierre Gassendi witnessed a lights display in 1621, and a reference to the northern lights was made by Gregory of Tours way back in the 500s. Fishing communities in Scandinavia once believed that the Northern Lights were caused by light reflecting off a large herring shoal in the ocean. The solar flare that created the solar storm of 1859 was of such magnitude that the Northern Lights were visible as far south as Mexico, Cuba and Hawaii. Aurora is the Roman goddess of dawn and Boreas is the Greek term for the north wind, hence the name Aurora Borealis. Oxygen and nitrogen also emit ultraviolet light, which can be detected by special cameras on satellites but not by the human eye. Other planets also have their own auroras. Here are 10 facts you ought to know about the aurora. Other legends include a belief among ancient North Americans that the aurora was a narrow, torch-lit pathway to guide departed souls to heaven, and  the Iglulik, who called the lights arsharneq or arshät and thought they were a powerful spirit who assisted shamans. French philosopher Pierre Gassendi (1592-1655) used the term ‘aurora borealis’ – meaning ‘dawn of the north’ – in 1621, after a spectacular light display in Paris. Every Monday you'll receive incredible deals and expert advice from travel writers at The Times. 4. Do you want to spend an evening trying to spot this natural phenomenon? Oxygen emits greenish-yellow or red light, while nitrogen generally gives off blue light; the blending of these produces purple, pink, and white. It wasn’t until the turn of the 20th Century that Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland began to develop a theory that would ultimately be accepted as correct. As they strike the atoms of these gaseous elements they excite them and as they calm down they release light. While most displays of the Northern Lights appear between 90-130km above the Earth’s surface, they can reach up to 600km into space.
A pale yellow-green is the most common colour followed by pink and a mix of red and green. The aurora borealis usually appears about 90 to 130km above the Earth. There are other theories about the perception of auroral noises, but no consensus as to whether they actually exist. The earliest depiction of the Northern Lights may be in the cave paintings of Cro-Magnon man, in about 30,000 BC. This comes from ancient folklore: the Finns believed that the aurora was caused by a fox sweeping its tail, sending snow up into the sky. No two light displays are the same, the colour and patterns always differing. The Northern Lights provokes the allocation of a large amount of energy – so, in 2007, there was recorded energy release comparable to an earthquake of magnitude 5.5. There's at least one case where a microphone detected audible sound associated with an aurora, and recently, research groups in Denmark and Finland claim to have recorded sounds from the lights. Whatever your passion, these gardens are sure to impress. However, some early explorers found that covering someone’s eyes made the sound disappear, so the Geophysical Institute suggests that the perception of sound could be caused by "signal leakage" from overstimulated visual centers in the brain or by energetic phenomena associated with the aurora. When charged particles enter the Earth’s upper atmosphere, they come into contact with the gases there, particularly oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen. The lights of the aurora are only the end product of a complicated interaction between the sun and Earth (an interaction that likely occurs around other stars, too). If you are planning to view the Northern Lights, take a decent camera.

This aurora has to be fairly active before it can be seen from places other than Antarctica, with Hobart, Tasmania and the southern tip of New Zealand offering the best viewings. Reply, Hi Anitha, we’ve passed your details onto our reservations team and they’ll be in touch with some suggestions . We're an eclectic mix of English, Australian, Indian, Canadian, Polish, South African and New Zealanders in the team and we love to travel the world, be it for work, pleasure or often both. Still, many people claim to hear whooshing and crackling noises when there is an aurora in the sky.

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The change in energy between “excited” and original states has a specific value and the resulting photon has a specific color, or wavelength, Don Hampton, a research assistant professor at the Poker Flat Research Range in Alaska, tells mental_floss. In fact, according to the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute, there's always an aurora somewhere on Earth. Some attempts to explain the Northern Lights were hampered by flaws in early belief systems. Here’s how and where to look for the aurora borealis, See nature's greatest light show in style: these are the very best Northern Lights holidays, departing in 2019 – designed especially for readers of the Times, Towering cedars or delicate cherry blossoms? It’s just the sky conditions that change making them visible. To give you the best possible experience, this website uses cookies. An excited molecule eventually returns to its non-excited state by releasing photons, or light particles.

It diverts the solar wind around the Earth, but as the solar wind’s magnetic field meets the Earth’s magnetic field on the dark side of the Earth, pointing away from the Sun, the fields merge and some of the charged particles are funnelled back towards the poles where they meet the Earth’s upper atmosphere. 1. 3.

Auroras occur mostly in high latitudes, near the poles, because electrons travel along magnetic field lines and the Earth's magnetic field lines come out and go into the Earth near its poles.

The large spirals sometimes seen in the aurora will be mirror images of each other at both poles. Some attempts to explain the Northern Lights were hampered by … There is a reference to the Northern Lights in The Annals of Saint Bertin – a set of historical accounts that were found in the Abbey of St Bertin in northern France. Thanks, May 17, 2019 at 10:17 am In the southern hemisphere, the Aurora Australis, also known as the “Southern Lights”, offer up light displays that are equally as stunning and just as worthy of a place on your bucket list. We're an international team of travellers based all over the world from London to Brisbane, Vancouver to Johannesburg, Auckland to Sydney.

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