Thu 10 Dec 20 in Science

Northern lights


As alluring as gazing out at the night sky at far off stars and constellation might be, on many occasions our local star also grabs the attention at night. Although it is not visible in the night sky, the sun is still shining on the side of the planet, and solar winds interfere with the magnetosphere that results in an aurora. 


Auroras are limited to the polar regions and as such, they are named according to each individual place they appear at. In the north, they are the aurora borealis or Northern lights, while in the south they are the aurora australis or Southern lights. 


Recently another such natural event has been forecast to occur by the NOAA’s Space Weather Agency. A solar wind or Coronal Mass Ejection is on its way towards Earth, and when it will hit the atmosphere it will fan out and create aurora borealis. This CME may be powerful enough to project the Northern Lights in some more southern parts of the US like Virginia and North Carolina, as well as the Midlands in England. The best times to spot the aurora borealis would be early hours before dawn in England and before midnight in the US. 


A number of conditions are required to actually be able to see the Northern lights. The CME would need to hit the atmosphere at night as during the day the sun would shine too brightly for the aurora to be visible. Depending on how powerful the energy released by the sun is, the aurora will not reach as far south. A high place and away from the light pollution of big cities would be needed to get a view of the Northern lights, and the northern horizon should be visible. Weather conditions will also be a hurdle in spotting the Northern lights as clouds would obscure visibility.


Assuming the weather will be nice, star gazing enthusiasts would get a nice view of a beautiful natural phenomenon as the fascinations for what lies beyond the sky comes with a reward of beauty as the auroras of the northern lights shall greet the darkness.