How are northern lights formed?

aurora boreal

Almost everyone has heard of or seen an aurora borealis in photos. Some others have been lucky enough to see them in person. But many do not know how they are formed and why.

An aurora borealis begins with a fluorescent glow on the horizon. Then it diminishes and an illuminated arc arises, sometimes closing in a very bright circle. But how is it formed and what is its activity related to?

Formation of the Northern Lights

the aurora borealis forms at the poles

The formation of the northern lights is related to the activity of the sun, the composition and characteristics of the earth's atmosphere.

The northern lights can be observed in a circular area above the poles of the Earth. But where do they come from? They come from the Sun. There is a bombardment of subatomic particles from the Sun formed in solar storms. These particles range from purple to red. The solar wind alters the particles and when they meet the Earth's magnetic field they deviate and only part of it is seen at the poles.

The electrons that make up solar radiation produce a spectral emission when they reach the gas molecules found in the magnetosphere, part of Earth's atmosphere that protects Earth from the solar wind, and cause excitation at the atomic level that results in luminescence. That luminescence spreads throughout the sky, giving rise to a spectacle of nature.

Studies on the Northern Lights

There are studies that investigate the northern lights when solar wind occurs. This occurs because, although solar storms are known to have an approximate period of 11 years, it is not possible to forecast when an aurora borealis will occur. For all the people who want to see the Northern Lights, this is a bummer. Traveling to the poles is not cheap and not being able to see the aurora is very depressing.

And you, have you ever seen or want to see an aurora borealis?

The content of the article adheres to our principles of editorial ethics. To report an error click here!.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.



  1. Responsible for the data: Miguel Ángel Gatón
  2. Purpose of the data: Control SPAM, comment management.
  3. Legitimation: Your consent
  4. Communication of the data: The data will not be communicated to third parties except by legal obligation.
  5. Data storage: Database hosted by Occentus Networks (EU)
  6. Rights: At any time you can limit, recover and delete your information.