Science, Medicine and Technology

Northern Lights Have Been Illuminating The Skies

‘…Allah is the Light of the heavens and the earth… Light upon light!’ 24:36

The Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) seen over the Isle of Skye, Scotland.
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Musa Sattar, UK

Today, as forecasted, most interested photographers and stargazers are waiting for the sky to be magically lit up by the colourful spectrum of Northern Lights. Why is the sky enchantingly ignited, and what causes this spectacular light show?

Northern Lights and Its Occurrence

The Northern Lights, also known as the Polar Lights or Aurora Borealis meaning light of dawn, are caused when a stream of charged particles escapes the Sun [known as the solar wind] and interacts with our planet’s magnetic field and the atmosphere. This interaction distorts the Earth’s magnetic field permitting some charged particles from the Sun to enter the Earth’s magnetic north pole and the magnetic south pole. So, through these charged particles, gases in our atmosphere are excited which makes them glow. Eventually, the solar wind disconnects the Earth’s magnetic field lines from our planet but when the magnetic fields reinforce the lines into position, the Earth’s atmosphere is hit again with the charged particles from the solar wind and so the aurora is born.

Where and How Can the Northern Lights Be Seen?

According to US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and United Kingdom authorities, the astounding display of Northern Lights will be visible in Scotland and the north of England, and as far south as New York, Wisconsin, and Washington states.

About the Author: Musa Sattar has an MSc in Pharmaceutical Analysis from Kingston University and is also serving as the Assistant Manager of The Review of Religions and the Deputy Editor of the Science & Religion section.


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