This Northern lights can be seen in the United Kingdom,
Northern Lights over the Forth Bridge, Edinburgh.



  • bright displays of shimmering light – this is called auroras appear at night over the North and South poles.
  • aurora that appears above the North Pole is Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights.
  • aurora that appears above the South Pole is Aurora Australis or the Southern Lights.
  • aurora are caused by streams of charged particles from the Sun, known as the solar wind – carries away over one million tonnes of charged particles from our Sun (see solar eruptions), crashing into the gases of Earth’s atmosphere.

Streams of charged particles

  • halo of light always exists over each pole – usually too faint to see, they flare up brightly when extra bursts of energy reach the Earth’s atmosphere from the Sun.
  • auroras only appears at the poles because there are deep cracks in the earth’s magnetic field there. (called Van Allen Radiation Belt)

Van Allen Radiation Belt
(More information:  wikipedia)

  • when the solar wind is blowing strongly, auroras are more spectacular.


Colour of Auroras

Glimpsing the spectacular Northern Lights
at Kelling Heath, North Norfolk, UK
(Friday 12th September 2014)

  • Nitrogen gas glows bright red in colour when hit normally and bright blue when ionized.
  • Oxygen gas glows yellow-green in colour when it is hit low in the atmosphere, and orange higher up.

Aurora in yellow-green colour

Did you know?

  • On the night of Thursday 27th February 2014, there are the stunning photos of the Northern Lights caught making a very rare appearance all over the United Kingdom but appearances as far down as Wiltshire or Oxfordshire are very rare!


  • New York, USA and Edinburgh, Scotland get an average of ten aurora displays every year.



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