For these lucky photographers, seeing the 2020 Aurora Borealis have been an unforgettable experience.
This year has not been the best year for many of us. When it comes to seeing what Mother Nature is capable of, there have been many natural events around the world showing their full power in 2020, not to mention the start of a global pandemic that has since gotten out of hand. With all of that on the list, however, come some good things, like the incredible aurora borealis sightings that have been made throughout the year. In a way, Mother Nature is still showing how calm, serene, and breathtaking her powers can be, and when it comes to the Northern Lights, those powers are not in the least subtle.
Thanks to the talented photographic skills of those brave enough to withstand some of the coldest places on earth, we have photographic documentation of this year’s Aurora Borealis with all the colors, magnetic changes, and wintry backdrops required to move us to another location to bring a little bit. Nowhere else in the world can color be seen under the stars like it is in the northern lights, and if nothing else, these photos remind us of a better future, bigger dreams and hopes for a better tomorrow … they look great at too .
What is the aurora borealis?
A seemingly otherworldly phenomenon, the aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, is something that can be seen in the northern hemisphere of the world. While there are ancient beliefs that explain and tell stories about these mysterious lights, there is also a scientific explanation for why we see streaks of neon colors across the night sky in certain parts of the year. For centuries, people have made it their business to see these lights in person as they dance across a blackened sky, dazzling the viewer with a series of silent movements. What causes such a brilliant light show?
The aurora borealis is created when a gas emission is released from the sun and hits the earth’s magnetic field. This causes profound changes in the atmosphere, creating charged particles that are then illuminated as northern lights that we can see from the ground. The charged particles flow together with the magnetic force that the earth creates, which is why the lights seem to move on their own.
Those fortunate enough to see the Aurora Borealis from the air, such as when traveling by air, are also fortunate to have seen these lights from a unique and rare perspective. From above, the lights look more like a wall and dance along invisible lines that cannot be seen with the naked eye. There, viewers have the opportunity to view the northern lights from the air, where they seem to cut through the sky until they float directly above the ground, guided by an invisible force.
While a beautiful sight, the aurora borealis also has the potential to disrupt modern technology. Due to the strong magnetic field, which is influenced by the particle reaction in the atmosphere, it is not uncommon for power outages or unusual readings on magnetic devices to occur during or after the event. The force behind the northern lights is so strong that, according to the Library of Congress, it is even known to disrupt satellites in space and affect entire power grids. Because of this, scientists have made it a goal to understand the sun’s solar patterns so that they can counteract or predict when such an event will affect Earth on a larger scale.
Although the aurora borealis is known to reach as far as Mexico, this is a rare opportunity. The best chances of seeing these lights would be to drive as far north as possible to places like Antarctica, Canada, and Alaska. These three locations are known for their stunning light shows, but the lights can also be seen from northern parts of Europe such as Norway, Iceland and Greenland.
Many people wonder what causes the different colors of the aurora borealis, and it all depends on the height and type of particles that come in contact with the Earth’s atmosphere. For the most part, anything 60 miles above and below the surface of the earth reflects in a blue, purple, or red light and bright green light that is between 60 and 150 miles above the surface of the earth. The rare red aurora borealis can be seen at altitudes over 150 miles. A combination of these heights results in a truly spectacular light show as it gives the viewer the opportunity to observe any number of colors in any number of shapes or movements over time.
Next: Can You See the Northern Lights in Canada? Here is where to go
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About the author
(1092 articles published)
Katie is originally from New York and is used to a fast-paced lifestyle. She personally began writing in second grade and carried that passion with her until she won a spot in her high school published poetry book – but not before becoming a news editor and columnist for the high school newspaper. In college she studied English literature with a major in political science and absorbed most of the creativity and method from one of the last professors to study with the famous beat poet Allen Ginsberg. The more she wrote, the more she learned about the world and above all about herself. She writes professionally and has been published since she was 19. She has been involved in topics such as entertainment, lifestyle, music news, video game reviews, and food culture for nearly a decade and is now privileged to write and edit for TheTravel. Katie strongly believes that every word you write is a journey within yourself and your own thoughts, and when people understand this they can begin to understand one another. Through her voice, she brings personality, research, and a little friendly sarcasm to every piece she writes and edits.
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