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Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights)

Estonia, Estonia Finland, Finland Iceland, Iceland Norway, Norway Russia, Russia Sweden, Sweden Canada, Canada Greenland, Greenland Alaska, United States

Aurora Borealis, also referred to as polar lights, northern lights (aurora borealis), or southern lights (aurora australis), is a natural light display in the Earth's sky caused by disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar wind. This phenomenon is considered to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the world and is predominantly seen in the high-latitude regions including Alaska, Northern Canada, Iceland, Norway, Finland, Russia, Sweden and Greenland. <br><br> Auroras are the result of disturbances in the magnetosphere caused by solar wind. These disturbances are sometimes strong enough to alter the trajectories of charged particles in both solar wind and magnetospheric plasma. These particles, mainly electrons and protons, precipitate into the upper atmosphere (thermosphere/exosphere). <br><br> The resulting ionization and excitation of atmospheric constituents emit light of varying color and complexity. The form of the aurora, occurring within bands around both polar regions, is also dependent on the amount of acceleration imparted to the precipitating particles. Precipitating protons generally produce optical emissions as incident hydrogen atoms after gaining electrons from the atmosphere. Proton auroras are usually observed at lower latitudes. <br><br> Visit Greenland says:<br> The Inuit people have also allowed themselves to wonder at the sight down through the ages, and the northern lights have often challenged the imagination. A well-known legend relates that when the northern lights dance in the night sky, it means that the dead are playing football with a walrus skull. Today certain groups think that children will be particularly intelligent if they are conceived in the magical glow of the northern lights.




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