Imagine yourself gazing at the dark night sky that is spotted with the stars, in land covered with snow. All you can hear is the whistling of the wind, cracking of twigs and sound of darkness. Suddenly you see green aurora from nowhere. The green lights have smudged all over the dark sky. The frozen lake reflects the green tint that the sky bears. Don’t worry, I am not talking about any zombie story or green lantern tales. Lucky ones who have experienced this Aurora Borealis, would surely agree with me.
Aurora Borealis is, also referred as polar light or the northern light, are often seen in the northern hemisphere. Northern light are one of the reason that attracts the gallivanters to northern hemisphere. One that disappoints most of the rover is that this mesmerizing rarity is totally unpredictable. The northern light is a natural visual display of light that occurs due to the interaction of the particles from the sun with the earth’s atmosphere .This merry dancers are mainly seen in in countries like Iceland, Greenland, northern Norway, Siberia, the Canadian territories and Alaska. This aurora is also seen in the parts of southern hemisphere. The aurora borealis is known as southern light or aurora australis in the southern hemisphere. Since the South Pole is inaccessible, northern light remain more popular. The light is often seen green colour, but there are many reports of other colours also.
There are literally thousands of myths on the aurora borealis. The myth believed by the people varies from place to place. There are few myth that grabbed my attention and are given below:
The Estonian Tales:
The lore of the Estonians considers that the aurora as the sign of a celestial war or a wedding and the lights are magnificent sleighs that carries heavenly guest to the luxury wedding. That’s probably a whole lot of guest for the wedding.
The ancestors of Greece and Rome believed that Aurora is the sister of the Helios and Seline (sun and moon respectively).The light that appeared in the sky is hustle that she makes on her multi coloured chariot to remind her sisters about the break of day. In Greek, Aurora means sunrise and Borealis means wind.
Sweden & Iceland Myth
The ancestors of Sweden believed that the northern light is the indication of some good news of peace, warmth and harvest. The forefathers of Iceland related the myth with the child’s birth. They strongly believed that the mother,who is giving birth to a child should not take a glance in the merry dancers or else the child would be born cross-eyed.
Where to find them?
The northern lights are unpredictable. The aurora is the light display that occurs due to the interaction of the particle from the sun with the earth’s atmosphere. The growth of technology have given birth to many aurora forecast app. Since the nature is not in good terms with the technology, it keeps on betraying the app.
One who wants to see the northern light have to keep two things in their mind: one is that, search for the aurora in the dark, clear sky and second, have patience (and bit of luck).Since the light is only visible in clear sky, it is always better to search in places away from the city .The Abisko (a village in Sweden) is the best place to see the light. It is the driest place in Sweden and has got the clearest sky in the aurora belt. The aurora is visible from September to March from 6pm to 6am, anywhere in the aurora belt.
The Spectra of Colours
The solitary colours of the aurora is due to the spectra of gases. The colour occurrence may depend upon the altitude at which the collision of the particle at the atmosphere takes and the gas involved. Mostly, we see the northern light in green-yellow shade of the spectrum. The aurora can also be appeared in white-grey colour, but this is difficult to be recognised by the naked eye. But this can be seen if you borrow your camera’s eye.
Fading of the Aurora
If the glance at the aurora borealis is a part of your bucket list, then I would suggest you to start your preparations for the hunt as fast as possible.
Sun have a solar cycle of 11 years, in this period the sun emits its particle that’s eventually causing the aurora. The emitting of the particle is very low at the starting of the solar cycle .The emission gains its peak only at mid of the cycle. Now the sun is at the end of the present solar cycle (solar cycle 24) and the aurora borealis is diminishing. So start with back packs and get ready to cross the aurora borealis from your bucketlist.
- Other than these glorious light, the aurora borealis makes faint sound of crackles, claps sound. This can only be heard during maximum aurora activity and in a windless climate. Often this sound is less experienced.
- Similar to the aurora on the Earth, other planets also have this glorious act of light near its magnetic poles.
- Aurora borealis pattern are always unique. There are no similar patterns ever encountered.
- The Italian astronomer and philosopher Galileo,was the first to describe this phenomenon.
- The aurora can also be seen from outer space.