Sky-gazers in Sweden recently had front-row seats to an out-of-this-world light show: The aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights.
The video has gotten plenty of attention, with almost 350,000 views so far on YouTube.
From How Stuff Works, a technical explanation for this cool cosmic display:
The auroras, both surrounding the north magnetic pole (aurora borealis) and south magnetic pole (aurora australis) occur when highly charged electrons from the solar wind interact with elements in the earth's atmosphere.
Bing F. Quock, assistant director of the Morrison Planetarium at the California Academy of Sciences, picks it up from there. In an email to Yahoo News, he explains that the charged particles “interact with the atoms of gas in our atmosphere and cause the atoms to give off light, like the gas in a neon sign.”
Quock adds that places where the northern lights can typically be seen include “Scandinavia, Greenland, Iceland, northern Russia, Canada, Alaska, and sometimes from the northern tier of U.S. states.”
Add to that list, the Web. This colorful clip was amassed from 2,464 raw images and is just over three minutes long.
- aurora borealis