Here are some of the most amazing videos of northern lights (or aurora borealis) ever captured on camera. They were shot in Norway, Sweden, Finland, and other arctic regions. This page also explains some interesting facts about the northern lights. The first eight videos on this page display spectacular northern and southern lights. The last two videos explain what causes them. This is page 3 of the space videos collection. Use the navigation pager near the bottom of each page to view all other pages.
The Sun's corona constantly emits solar wind in all directions. It consists of electrically charged particles such as electrons and protons. These charged particles are pushed out into space at speeds exceeding 447 kilometers (278 miles) per second. When they reach the Earth, they interact with its magnetic field and atmosphere to create beautiful northern and southern lights, which are brightly visible in the night skies of the polar regions. In the Northern Hemisphere, these dancing lights are called northern lights or aurora borealis, and in the Southern Hemisphere, they are called southern lights or aurora australis. The following picture shows typical northern lights over Alaska: -
What creates the different colors of auroras? Electron collisions excite gas molecules in the Earth's atmosphere, and when these molecules return back to their normal state, they emit photons, or packets of energy in the form of light waves. Depending on a number of factors such as the altitude and the level of molecular excitement, oxygen emits either greenish-yellow or red colored lights, and nitrogen emits either blue or purple/violet colored lights. More colors are generated when these lights blend. The altitude of auroral activity varies from about 96 to 322 kilometers (60 and 200 miles) above the sea-level, and the voltage of the electrical fields generated during the activity can range from about 40,000 to 200,000 volts.
The output of the Sun's energy peaks every 9 to 14 years. On an average it peaks every 11 years. The peak solar activity is called a solar max. During a solar max, there is an increase in solar flares, coronal mass ejections, and the number of visible sunspots. There is also a corresponding increase in the intensity of auroras seen above the polar regions of the Earth. During 2012, people living close to the polar regions saw amazing displays of auroras in the night skies. During 2013-2014 things might get even better, because a solar max is expected.
This breathtaking video of the northern lights was shot by Ole C. Salomonsen in the northern regions of Norway, Finland and Sweden. He shot it during the fall season of 2011, and the winter and spring seasons of 2012. The background music is by Norwegian composer Kai-Anders Ryan.
Here is another jaw-dropping video of the northern lights shot by Terje Sørgjerd, a passionate landscape photographer and filmmaker from Norway. He shot it in Kirkenes, a town in the far northeast of Norway, and in the Pas National Park, near the border of Russia. The music is "Now We are Free" from the "Gladiator" movie.
A dance of colorful aurora borealis in the night-skies of Norway, captured on camera by Christian Mülhauser in 2012. The music is "Elemental" by Pulse Faction, followed by "Path of Stars" by Jonathan Geer.
Shot by Anna Possberg, this video shows incandescent polar lights over the beautiful winter-landscape of Iceland. The background music is "Alpha Command" by Justin R. Durban.
This time-lapse video of amazing auroras was shot by National Geographic in Norway over the course of a single night. It has no background music.
A silent video of aurora australis or southern lights captured by the crew members of Expedition 29 from the International Space Station (ISS), as it was traveling over the ocean in low earth orbit from the south of Madagascar to the north of Australia.
Amazing auroras adorn the night-skies of Sweden in this time-lapse video. Chad Blakley spent about 2000 hours over the course of three winters in Abisko National Park, Sweden, to capture the most beautiful auroras on camera. Later, Thomas Malkowicz edited thousands of images to create this beautiful video.
Here is another time-lapse video of the northern lights captured by Ole C. Salomonsen in Tromsø (Northern Norway). He spent more than six months to shoot about 50,000 images of auroras, and chose the best ones to create this awesome video. The background music is "Aurora in the Sky" by Per Wollen.
Made by the Department of Physics, University of Oslo, this video explains the origin of the polar lights. It describes the journey of solar plasma from the core of the Sun to the upper atmosphere of the Earth.
This video made by NASA explains the causes of the northern lights (and the southern lights). These lights look very beautiful and mysterious, but they are a manifestation of violent space weather. Usually it creates no problems here on the Earth, but in extreme cases, especially during the Solar Max, the turbulent space weather has a potential to disrupt power-grids, military and communication satellites, air travel, and GPS signals.