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Amazing Photos Of Northern and Southern Lights

10 July, 2012

MessageToEagle.com - A long time ago, when our ancestors admired the beauty of the Northern and Southern Lights, they thought the lights were spirits or souls dancing in the sky.

Sometimes the lights were believed to be Gods or Goddesses appearing to mortals.

The Northern and Southern Lights caused a range of emotions in the people who witnessed then - alarm, fear, wonder, dread and excitement.

The red color was associated with legend or myths relating to blood - murder, death, armies, wars and suicide.

People did not understand what caused these amazing spectacles of lights in the sky. The phenomena of the Northern Lights were explained by different stories...

Aurora – The Struggle. This photographer noted, “I just liked how the aurora seemed to stop a the edge of the milky way at this location, as if the edge of the galaxy is playing referee to a battle in the sky.” Image credit: Carl Jones

Aurora Australis blankets the sky overhead of the 10-meter South Pole Telescope at Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station, Antarctica. Like its more familiar counterpart, the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, the Aurora Australis is caused by the solar wind passing through the upper atmosphere. But the Aurora Australis is much less frequently observed because so few people live in Antarctica during the austral winter. Image credit: Keith Vanderlinde, National Science Foundation

Aurora.Image credit: Pete Lytwyniuk

Dancing Auroras. Image credit: Álfheiður Magnúsdóttir

Today we know that the Aurora is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere.

The charged particles originate in the magnetosphere and solar wind and, on Earth, are directed by the Earth's magnetic field into the atmosphere.

In northern latitudes, the effect is known as the Aurora Borealis (or the Northern Lights), named after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas, by Pierre Gassendi in 1621.

Its southern counterpart, the aurora australis (or the southern lights), has almost identical features to the aurora borealis. The Southern Lights are visible from high southern latitudes in Antarctica, South America, New Zealand, and Australia.

Aurora Borealis – Northern Lights. Image credit: Gunnar Þór Gunnarsson

Aurora Borealis as seen from seen from Siilinjärvi, Image credit: Janne

This is the Aurora Australis, which dances through the sky virtually all the time during the long Antarctic night over Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. The photo’s surreal appearance makes the station look like a futuristic Mars Station. Image credit: Chris Danals, National Science Foundation

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska — The Aurora Borealis, or Northern Lights, shines above Bear Lake. Photo #13 by United States Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang

Aurora during Solstice Lunar Eclipse 2010. Image credit: Francis Anderson

Moon-shimmering waterfall and Aurora Borealis. Image credit: Arnar Valdimarsson

Aurorae occur on other planets. Similar to the Earth's aurora, they are visible close to the planet's magnetic poles, as you can see here!

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See also:
Amazing Red Aurora Over Australia

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