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The Aurora Borealis

We have our eyes on the sky this week in Thinking Color! The colorful phenomenon witnessed in night skies at the magnetic poles of the earth is known as the Aurora Borealis, or the northern lights. These colorful dancing lights are caused by the collision of gaseous particles in the earth’s atmosphere.

             

Despite being known as the northern lights this colorful display can be witnessed near the south pole as well and is known as aurora australis in the southern hemisphere.

The auroral display can be seen in a variety of colors and combinations. Green and pink lights are the most common colors reported however, red, yellow, blue and violet have also been reported. The colorful displays can manifest as arcs, wave, and even a full fog like covering of the sky.

                   

Winter is the best time of year to witness the Aurora due to the longer nights and clearer skies. In the northern hemisphere Norway, upper Canada and Siberia are known for there highly active displays. In the southern hemisphere south Australia, Chile and Argentina are known as ideal places to view the phenomenon.  

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