Where to catch the aurora borealis in the UK

By , October 26, 2011 8:03 pm

The United Kingdom is definitely not left behind by other countries where the northern lights can be seen as reports of auroral sightings have been documented in the southern part of UK. Don’t believe us? Check out this news article. These auroral sightings are possible when the geomagnetic activity intensifies. As the degree of geomagnetic intensity increases, so does the auroral zone that covers the area where the northern lights regularly appear. The auroral zone is an oval-shaped ring around the magnetic pole where the aurora borealis is frequently occurring.

Timing is everything if you want to catch an auroral display in the English skies. You need to be on the alert every time for geomagnetic storms to increase your chances of seeing the northern lights. How? You can search Google for “Introduction to Magnetometer” by Clifford E. Carnicom and learn how to create a home-made magnetometer. It’s not that accurate but the fluctuations and surges of geomagnetic storm activity can be detected. The northern lights are caused by these geomagnetic storms and what makes aurora hunting even more challenging is that it is very rare to catch an intense geomagnetic storm and to top it all; it doesn’t last long.

Further, the aurora is a by-product of the sun’s storm activity. In some occasion there are eruptions on the sun and massive charged particles are blown out into space. Some of these charged particles, or solar particles, get off-track and caught by the Earth’s magnetic field and directed towards the geomagnetic regions.

As these charged particles progress their way down to Earth their speed is reduced by the atmosphere which detects and filters them as foreign objects. As they come in contact with the atmosphere and the gases that surround it, light energy is produced.

When a solar particle is in collision with an atmospheric molecule it becomes electrically-charged and unstable. The solar particle’s unstable status causes it to get stimulated and consequently will emit light in the process. If you’ve seen how a girl screams when she sees her crush then it pretty much looks that way.

The color that the aurora produces is determined by the available atmospheric gases the charged particles interacted with. The variety of colors that you see during a spectacular northern lights display is a combination of oxygen, nitrogen, hydrogen, and other gases. Every atmospheric gas has its own particular color to shed. The most common colors during an auroral spectacle are green, yellow, and blue. Violet and red are rare to find so consider yourself lucky if these colors show up to you.


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