On the news sometimes you might here about mystical lights appearing in parts of the world. This has always made me wonder: where do they come from? How do they appear? This is a passage that I have researched on. Hope you enjoy!
“And the Northern lights in the crystal nights, came forth with a mystic gleam.”
From “The Ballad of the Northern Lights” by Robert Service
Looking up at the night sky, you will probably notice that it is all one colour; a black blanket studded with stars and the occasional appearance of the moon from time to time. Of course at certain times of the year, like New Year’s Eve, you can make the night sky appear as many different colours as you like with the help of fireworks that your family or neighbours let off into the sky. Besides this, however, you might be surprised to learn that if you took a trip to the chilly Arctic, in the North, or Antarctic, in the South, then you are very likely to see a colourful display without even needing to strike a match!
Planet Earth has its very own firework display, and a much more quieter one at that – you wouldn’t need to cover your ears with your hands to watch the show! Astronomers call these light displays aurora and they appear most commonly at the northern or southern poles of our planet. To be able to tell them apart, scientists call the displays over the Arctic, aurora borealis and those over the Antarctic, Aurora Australis. To make it much easier to remember them, some people like to call them the Northern or Southern lights. You may have already heard of them, but do you know how they are made? If you are not sure, then maybe you and your friends can scribble down a few guesses before you carry on reading!
Aurorae are made, not from the gunpowder in your favourite firework, but partly by the Sun – our Solar System’s very own fireball. When you’ve had a very fizzy drink that is full of gas, like Coca Cola, what is the first thing you notice after drinking a full glass of it? That’s right, you want to burp! The Sun is made of gas, so likes to let out a continuous belch that throws out particles with lots of energy from its surface – this is called Solar Wind and we are usually in the path of it. From this stream of particles alone, an aurora is not always at its most spectacular – eruptions on the hot surface of the Sun called solar flares them all of the more brighter – they are pretty hard to miss! Although some cannot be seen at all!
For fun facts on this go to this website: (http://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/earth/aurora.html)
Keep being awesome!