As the evening progresses, different parts of the world will be covered by the Auroral Oval and the Northern Lights might become bigger, brighter and more colorful as the Auroraes move closer and closer to the seeker.
Our weekly eNewsletter highlights new adventures, exclusive offers, webinars, nature news, travel ideas, photography tips and more. Auroras on either Jupiter or Saturn are much larger and more powerful than on Earth, because those planets' magnetic fields are orders of magnitude more intense. A hit creates either a spectacular magnetic storm and dazzling aurora with it, or a fizzle. The view from directly under the aurora shows dazzling bands of light with huge depth, and often with vivid color. I don’t know about you, but I start to feel overwhelmed—and getting older by the second—when I peruse these tantalizing lists, knowing I won’t get to sample half of what’s on them in my lifetime.
Since the magnetic and geographic poles aren't the same, sometimes the auroras are visible farther south than one might expect, while in other places it's farther north.
Jesse Emspak - Live Science Contributor
Satellites can take pictures of the aurora from Earth's orbit — and the images they get are pretty striking. One of the most magical, which I have had the good fortune to experience several times, is a marvel that I encourage you to add to your own list: standing beneath the aurora borealis, the fabled “northern lights.”. The bright dancing lights of the aurora are actually collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere. An early Chinese record describes it as a “red cloud spreading all over the sky.” The Roman philosopher Seneca wrote that an aurora in AD 37 tricked the emperor into sending troops to aid what he thought was the burning seaport of Ostia, “when the glowing of the sky lasted through a great part of the night, shining dimly like a vast and smoking fire.” In 1583, similar “fires in the air” mobilized thousands of French pilgrims, who prayed to avert the wrath of God. To see the southern lights (or aurora australis), you have to go to Tasmania, and there are occasional sightings in southern Argentina or the Falklands – but those are rare. Especially in Europe, the aurora often appears as a reddish or pink glow on the northern horizon, as if the sun were rising from an unexpected direction. "You could have a major auroral storm in New York City and if you looked up you wouldn't notice," he said. The particles give some of their energy to atoms and molecules of gases in the upper atmosphere. I was working a summer job as a tour guide in Skagway, Alaska. Oxygen atoms emit green and sometimes red light, while nitrogen is more orange or red. Auroras are visible south of the zone, but they are less likely to occur the farther away you go. These three primary colors together produce the hues of a typical aurora. Many historical accounts of the northern lights from areas far south of its usual location exist. Even though the temperature of the upper atmosphere can reach thousands of degrees Fahrenheit, the heat is based on the average speed of the molecules.
In the Southern Hemisphere, the Maori and Aboriginal people of Australia associated the southern lights with fires in the spirit world. Here are some dazzling facts about these light shows. In times of high solar activity, the southern limit for seeing auroras can go as far south as Oklahoma and Atlanta — as it did in October 2011. In fact, auroras are bright enough that they show up strongly on the nightside of the Earth even if one were looking at them from another planet.
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