For many centuries people admired stunningly beautiful and mysterious sight, dubbed the Northern Lights. But no one knew how it arises.
In ancient times and in the Middle Ages the appearance of the aurora borealis composed legends, in modern times there were attempts to give a scientific justification for the phenomenon.
Legends and scientific hypotheses about the origin of the Northern Lights
Eskimo tribes believed that the northern lights- It is the light that emit souls of the dead on the way to heaven. According to ancient Finnish legend, foxes prey on the hills and the rocks are scratched sides. This sparks fly off to the sky and there create the aurora borealis. Residents of medieval Europe argued that the northern lights - a gleam of battle, who is in heaven forever doomed to lead soldiers killed on the battlefield.
Scientists come closer to solving thisamazing phenomenon - they have put forward the theory that the aurora borealis is a reflection of light from ice caps. Galileo came to the conclusion that this is a natural phenomenon is the result of refraction in the atmosphere, sunlight, and named it in honor of Aurora the Roman goddess of the dawn.
The first explained the origin of the Northern LightsMikhail Vasilyevich Lomonosov. After spending a huge amount of experience, he suggested that the phenomenon is electrical in nature. Scientists continue to study the aurora borealis, confirmed the accuracy of the hypothesis put forward by them. In their view, colorful flash light up the skies of the polar regions of the planet, where charged particles flying from the Sun reach the Earth's magnetic field. Most of this flow deflects the geomagnetic field, but some particles still enter the atmosphere over the polar regions. Their collision with the atoms and molecules of the gas atmosphere is unusually beautiful multi-colored glow.
As there is a wonderful glow
The most common color of the aurora borealisIt is a pale green. It occurs as a result of collisions between electrons and oxygen atoms at an altitude below 400 km above the earth. nitrogen molecules produce red, once in the lower layers of the ionosphere. In the upper part of the ionosphere, they emit a dull purple color, invisible from the Earth's surface. Overflows of these colors and create incredibly beautiful, magic shine.
Northern Lights starts so high thatfly to it can not be any jet. Its lower edge is located at a height of at least 60 km, and the top - at the height of 960 km above the planet. Thus, to reach the northern lights only by astronauts.
Northern Lights can be seen in winter, as the nightthis time of year is much darker, wonderful glow becomes more noticeable. Contrary to popular belief, the aurora borealis is not only in the north but also the south pole. And the northern lights exist on other planets, such as Mars.