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Northern Lights  

The Midnight Rainbow
The Aurora Borealis have entertained everyone from Vikings to modern Minnesotans. Originating at the sun, 93 million miles away, in the form of solar flares and explosions, the particles collide with the ionosphere 50 miles overhead, ionizing nitrogen and oxygen in the earth’s Polar Regions. The result is earth’s most spectacular light show.

Like snowflakes, the pattern and size of the lights are as diverse as the people who watch them. Most often a luminous or neon green, they can shift to reds, pinks, even a rare violet. Three bands are most common, but the lights can appear as shimmering curtains of color or like back-lit fog across the horizon.

Forming a ring around the Magnetic North Pole, the lights can be seen from around the globe. The greatest band of activity is offset about 20 degrees from the constantly moving point, which means that the lights are easily accessible without a pack of dogs and a sled.
Favorite spots for viewing the lights include the Lofoten Islands and North Cape in Norway, most areas of Alaska and Canada, and even as far south as Minnesota and North Dakota during periods of high activity.

The light show was named by Pierre Gassendi in 1621, after the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora, and the Greek word for north wind, Boreas. The Vikings also attributed the lights to a windy goddess, believing they were light cast off the armor of Valkyries.

Whether visitors think they are dancing spirits, signs from God, or simply some groovy electron shows, no one lucky enough to catch this spectacular light show will soon forget.
 
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Northern Lights
Fairbanks, United States
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