top of page
  • Rishika Didwania

The Magic Behind Auroras

Near the North and South Poles, one can frequently see dancing lights in the night sky: The ‘Auroras’. The Northern lights are also known as ‘Aurora Borealis’ whereas the Southern lights are called ‘Aurora Australis’.

It was Galileo Galilei who coined the term 'Aurora Borealis' after Aurora, the Roman goddess of dawn, and Boreas, the Greek God of the north wind. Norwegian scientist Kristian Birkeland was the first to propose the theory behind the formation of these Northern lights.

Auroras are formed when the Sun gives out Solar winds and huge amounts of energy, called Solar Storms, (in the form of Solar flares & Coronal Mass Ejections (CMEs)). In layman’s terms, the Sun sends forth high-energy particles that travel towards Earth at rapid speeds. The Earth’s magnetic field then deflects these particles towards the North and South Poles where they interact with the gases in our atmosphere and deposit energy, forming beautiful displays in the sky. The particles reacting with Oxygen give off green and red light while those reacting with Nitrogen, glow blue and purple.

Interestingly enough, Earth is not the only planet that has Auroras! Charged particles flowing from the Sun interact with the magnetic fields of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune as well as with the atmosphere of Mars and Venus, to form Auroras.

Did you know that there have been many legends and myths about Auroras? For example, Vikings thought the phenomenon was light reflecting off the armour of the ‘Valkyrie’, (supernatural maidens who brought warriors into the afterlife), whereas people in Greenland thought the lights to be spirits of the children who had died during childbirth, dancing across the sky.

20 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All


Post: Blog2 Post
bottom of page