Watch the night sky turn trippy with the mysterious rays of the Northern Lights

3 mins
23 Nov 2022
Watch the night sky turn trippy with the mysterious rays of the Northern Lights

This light show is one of nature’s most dazzling natural phenomena

image mariuskasteckas / Getty

words Lucy O'Brien

Welcome to Wanderlust Wonders: each week we’ll be cleansing your feed with a feel-good snapshot of somewhere beautiful, both in and out of this world.

Today, we’re taking you to views of the Northern Lights - or aurora borealis – from Lofoten, Norway.

What am I looking at?

The aurora borealis has dazzled observers for millenia with its beautiful display of dancing waves of light lighting up the night sky in high-altitude regions of the world. With skies blazing from electric green to deep purple, the Northern Lights become the ultimate drug-free trip. This particular shot was taken from the Lofoten Islands in Norway, where people travel to in pursuit of seeing this phenomenon up close. Aurora season is usually determined to start around the end of August and finish in mid-April, but if you’re lucky enough to be exploring the polar regions of our world during a low-altitude solar storm, you might just get to experience the lights in summer, too. It’s no wonder seeing our planet’s most awe-inspiring natural light show is a dream for many.

Tell me more…

Let’s be real, as beautiful as the Northern Lights are, the concept of dancing waves of multicoloured lights in the sky is a pretty baffling one to get your head around. So let’s look at the science behind it: essentially, the lights are the result of solar wind all the way up in spaceinteracting with the earth’s magnetic field. Solar wind is a collection of charged particles emitted by the sun, which are then captured by the magnetic field and drawn towards our Earth’s north and south poles.

Is it under threat, and what are we doing to sustain it?

Thankfully, the geomagnetic properties that produce aurora borealis will happen regardless of the ecological and environmental turmoil currently faced down here on earth. The only real human-led factor impacting our ability to view this spectacular event is light pollution – the sky needs to be as dark as possible to see aurora by the naked eye, so things like excessive street lighting and residual lights from cities impact the likelihood of visibility. While researchers have no evidence to suggest the lights are in any danger, they’re not always going to be visible. The aurora borealis is affected by the sun’s 11-year solar cycle: when the sun is at solar minimum (meaning the surface of the star is at its least active), less charged particles are emitted by the sun and therefore there is less chance of a chance of our magnetic field producing the light display. It is reassuring, nonetheless, to know that they will always come back to peak activity and there is no time-limit to add to our bucket lists (brb, doing it as we speak…)

Best views from the grid

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Tune in next week for another dose of visual healing...

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