Dancing in the Sky

by Esther Iranyi November 15, 2019

Aurora Borealis glowing in the dark, northern, southern lights poster. Glow in the dark blues with trees.

The ethereal Northern Lights are also known as the Aurora Borealis. This natural light display, a celestial dance of colours and shapes, occurs in the polar regions and shows the Earth's dynamic relationship with the sun and the cosmos.

The term "Aurora Borealis" originates from the Greek, with "Aurora" meaning "dawn" and "Boreas” for "wind.

The Northern Lights are a result of interactions between charged particles from the sun, solar winds of electrons and protons, and the Earth's magnetic field. As these charged particles collide with the gases in our atmosphere, such as oxygen and nitrogen, they emit light in various colors. Oxygen produces red and green hues, while nitrogen contributes to purples and pinks. The lights are most observed in high-latitude regions, near the magnetic poles, where the Earth's magnetic field is most intense.

The Southern Lights are called Aurora Australis and can be seen from New Zealand.

From vibrant greens and purples to soft pinks and reds, the lights create a mesmerising display that seems almost otherworldly. The intensity and variety of colours depend on the type of gas particles involved in the collisions and the altitude at which the collisions occur. 

“The light grew by degrees more and more intense, and from irregular bursts, it settled into an almost steady sheet of brightness…The exhibition, at first tame and quiet, became, in the end, startling in its brilliancy.The broad dome above me is all ablaze… The color of the light was chiefly red, but this was not constant, and every hue mingled in the fierce display.Blue and yellow streamers were playing in the lurid fire; and, sometimes starting side by side from the wide expanse of the illuminated arch, they melt into each other, and throw a ghostly glare of green into the face and over the landscape.Again this green overrides the red; blue and orange clasp each other in their rapid flight; violet darts tear through a broad flush of yellow, and countless tongues of white flame, formed of these uniting streams, rush aloft and lick the skies.”

~ Arctic explorer Isaac Hayes

The accompanying image of glowing Aurora over trees was painted back in 2017. Contact me if you'd like an updated version, I'm always happy to paint custom work. 

Esther Iranyi
Esther Iranyi


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