Northern lights above Trondheim Monday night (Photo: Lyubomir Ahtapodov og Yana Panova)
Northern lights above Trondheim Monday night (Photo: Lyubomir Ahtapodov og Yana Panova)

Extra strong Aurora Borealis this week

The sky was ablaze in South Norway and Denmark late Monday evening.

This video explains how particles originating from deep inside the core of the sun creates Northern Lights, also called aurora borealis, on our planet.

It’s not unusual to see the Northern Lights when the sun is as active as it is now.

"The Aurora Borealis has been visible from Oslo five or six times this winter. It’s even been visible in Denmark twice this winter. In 2003 they could see the Northern Lights all way south to the French Riviera,” says Solar Physicicst Pål Brekke at the Norwegian Space Centre.

Eksplosions on the Sun

The cause of this recent display was a huge solar flare on Friday which sent a powerful solar storm towards the Earth.

The Northern Lights hit South Norway during the daylight hours so scientists weren’t expecting them to be seen. But this time the solar storm lasted until after darkness fell.

“We can forecast the Northern Lights two to three days ahead of time,” says Brekke.

50,000 volts

When you witness the Northern Lights you are seeing electricity and magnetism perform on a gigantic scale.

A powerful show of the Northern Lights is comprised of 50,000 volts and a current of millions of amperes. Common European household appliances run on 220 volts and 16 amps.

Although the light generated when the atmosphere starts to glow with charged particles is strong, it is weak compared to the output of light from a large city.

Pål Brekke says this is why the Northern Lights are best seen outside dense urban areas. He often leaves Oslo to observe them.

If the Northern Lights are strong enough you needn’t go far away from the city’s light pollution, and if the phenomenon is really strong you can view it from a lit street.

Translated by: Glenn Ostling

External links

Related content
Powered by Labrador CMS