With so many predictions and assumptions around the 2012 events, there is another such fabulous event that happens near the poles when the Sun is so excited, whether anything about the 2012 would be true, that’s a different discussion, but an event associated with the heightened Sun’s activity is Nature’s fantastic Fireworks called the Aurora Borealis.
Plans are being made to witness this amazing event, keep a watch on this page for updates from my trip about any possible sightings that i might see during my hunt for it.
The above picture was captured by my friend Gowri Varadhan in Canada, he has managed to capture this wonder in such grandeur and beauty.
2012 – 2013 has been predicted to be high on the Sun cycle and on the rise, so these times hold great potential for auroral activity.
What is Aurora Borealis
It all begins with a flare, a Solar flare from the Sun, its also frequently known as the Northern Lights.
When charged particles from a Solar flare penetrate the earth’s magnetic field, they collide with the gas atoms and molecules in our atmosphere, such collisions result in ionisation of the gases and in turn emit little bursts of light called Photons, and these little bursts of Photons make up the Aurora display.
The light bursts can occur in different colours and intensities depending on the type of gas that’s being ionised. A Red and Green aurora is produced when Oxygen atoms are ionised, Nitrogen produces Pink and Purple colours.
Auroras encircle the polar regions and occur at an altitude of approx 50 to 350 miles and this zone is referred as the “Auroral Oval”.
In the northern hemisphere they are called the aurora borealis (northern lights) and in the southern hemisphere aurora australis (southern lights).
When and Where to see it
As the Auroral activity is concentrated around the poles, its more easily visible in the regions nearer the poles, in the North, Canada, Iceland, Greenland, Northern Norway, Sweden, Lapland, Svalbard all are great places to view this amazing natural fireworks of the sky.
As the clouds can cover the activity, Auroral activity is visible on clear nights, there is no need for a cold weather, but as clearer nights tend to be colder than cloudy ones, hence the link to being cold.
As the Auroral activity is mainly due to the Solar activity and the Sun’s peak cycles, the last one was around 2000, so with the Sun cycle happening every 11 to 12 years, its 2012 – 2013 predicted for the Sun cycle and especially after the sun being recorded for its very minimal sun spots during the last few years, this period has been predicted to have some good solar activity resulting in some good displays.