What is the Aurora Borealis?

The aurora is the effect that is caused when charged particles in solar winds are pulled into the atmosphere by the earth’s magnetic force. This force is also what channels them towards our geomagnetic poles.

When these particles collide with the gas atoms and molecules of earth’s atmosphere, the lights of the aurora are emitted. The more collisions there are, the brighter the lights are.

The different colours of the aurora are created by the particles colliding with the different gasses in our atmosphere and because earth has two magnetic poles, we get the aurora borealis at the North Pole and the aurora australis at the South Pole.

Common Names For The Aurora

The Aurora Borealis means “northern dawn” in Latin. In ancient Roman times, Aurora was the goddess of dawn while Borealis means northerly, hence the term aurora borealis. Most commonly, after aurora borealis, it is called the northern lights. Other variations of this include polar lights, northern polar lights, aurora polaris, and polar spirits.

Where Is The Best Place To See The Northern Lights?

We would have to say Yellowknife in the Northwest Territories of Canada, hands down. The city and surrounding area is situated directly beneath the aurora oval, which is a halo-like ring that is found around both magnetic poles of the earth.

Although there are other places also just below the aurora oval, the Yellowknife area is deemed the best because of its relatively flat topography, coupled with few geographical obstructions. This allows for a higher percentage of clear weather, particularly in the winter, and therefore, a much higher viewing probability. When you stay with us for 3 nights of aurora-viewing, you have a 95 percent chance of seeing the aurora at least once. Take a look at our Nightly Aurora Photo Log to see how often we have an aurora display at Aurora Village.

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