The Polar Lights

By: Billie and Libby


  • 1621 - Pierre Gassendi named them after a Roman god and goddess

What are the polar lights?

  • Colorful lights that appear in different parts of the world
  • they appear in many different colors such as pale green, pink, red, yellow, green, blue, and violet
  • they appear in different ways in the sky- (dull glow, arcs, swirls, or streaks)
  • they can be seen above the magnetic poles in the north(Aurora Borealis) and south(Aurora Australis)

how do they Happen?

  • the sun interacts with the Earth's magnetic field
  • generates currents of charged particles that follow magnetic force lines colliding with ions forming the colors
  • "shimmering" effect is caused by fading particle explosions

Where can you see them?

  • some places in Canada (Yukon, Nunavut, Northwest Territories), and some places in Alaska
  • Greenland, Iceland, northern coast of Norway, and over the oceans in Siberia
  • glimpses may be seen in Tasmania and New Zealand
  • scientist have found that when the lights appear in the north they appear around the same time in the south and the same shades of colors
  • best time to see them is in the winter or the spring on a clear night(September- April darker during these months)
  • mild temperature, clear skies, and frequent displays
  • best time to see them and hour and a half after sunset
  • times= 11:30-3:30/ 12:30- 4:30


  • Finnish- aurora borealis is "Revontulet" which is translated to "Fox Fires"--> they believed that a magical fox would sweep his tails across the snow spraying it into the air
  • Lapland(Arctic circle)- believed the lights were the energies of the departed souls- when they would see the lights they were to act respectively and if they didn't they would have bad fortune or death
  • Norwegian folklore- souls of old maids dancing across the sky "the merry dancers"
  • Eskimos (Greenland)- souls of children that died at birth and believed that when they dances the lights would dance
  • ancient heroes battling in the skies

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