Asked by: Astou Henle
travel polar travel

Can we see northern lights with naked eyes?

Last Updated: 25th June, 2020

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Our naked eye can most easily see thegreen-yellow part of the spectrum where the sun emits most of itslight. Green is the most common color observed but theNorthern Lights can also appear white-gray. Sometimes theNorthern Lights are even present but not visible to thenaked eye.

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In this way, can humans see the Northern Lights?

The simplistic answer is because human eyescan't see the relatively “faint” colorsof the aurora at night. Our eyes have cones and rods – thecones work during the day and the rods work at night. Thus thehuman eye views the Northern Lights generally in“black & white.” DSLR camera sensors don't havethis limitation.

Furthermore, how far south can the Northern Lights be seen? To observers at far-northern latitudes,the Lights are a frequent occurrence, but many who live inmore temperate climates have never seen them, even thoughthey are occasionally seen as far south as 35 degreesNorth latitude.

Accordingly, what do northern lights look like in real life?

When you see them in real life, the NorthernLights aren't actually very colorful at all. They oftenappear milky white in color, "almost like a cloud,"as one seasoned traveler puts it. For that reason, auroras oftenappear only in shades of gray.

Can you see Northern Lights from plane?

Passenger Spots Northern Lights from PlaneWindow, Takes Amazing Video. Turns out, the best place tosee the aurora borealis is on your flight tosee the aurora borealis. It's currently primeNorthern Lights viewing season. The video, posted toYouTube, has been viewed over 200,000 times in the last 72hours.

Related Question Answers

Ainnoa Janzen

Professional

Are Northern Lights dangerous?

The Northern Lights occur so high up in theatmosphere that they don't pose any threat to people watching themfrom the ground. The aurora itself is not harmful to humansbut the electrically charged particles produced could have somepotentially negative effects to infrastructure andtechnology.

Ozella Lecuona

Professional

How long do Northern Lights last?

12. How long do the northern lights last?Anywhere from 10 minutes to all night long, depending on themagnitude of the incoming solar wind.

Vico Esgueva

Professional

Where in the US can you see the Northern Lights?

Where to go see the Northern Lights
  • Puget Sound, Washington.
  • Glacier National Park, Montana.
  • Headlands Dark Sky Park, Michigan.
  • Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, Wisconsin.
  • Voyageurs National Park, Minnesota.
  • Baxter State Park, Maine.

Stana Gschwendt

Explainer

Where is the best place to go and see the northern lights?

In Fairbanks, Alaska, the sky glows with the auroraborealis. Located just two degrees below the Arctic nearinternational airport and close to the impressive Denali NationalPark, Fairbanks is the best place in the U.S. to take in thenorthern lights.

Iurgi Benali

Explainer

Are Northern Lights real?

Polar lights (aurora polaris) are a naturalphenomenon found in both the northern and southernhemispheres that can be truly awe inspiring. Northern lightsare also called by their scientific name, aurora borealis, andsouthern lights are called aurora australis.

Ulla Sab

Explainer

Do the Northern Lights move?

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis,are caused by charged gas particles - that flow away from the Sunas a "solar wind" - interacting with the Earth's magnetic field.This solar wind has its own magnetic field, which can "drag away"the Earth's magnetic field lines, disconnecting them from ourplanet.

Walton Zschernig

Pundit

Why are the Northern Lights white?

The simple answer is because human eyes can't see therelatively "faint" colors of the aurora at night. Human eyes havecones and rods — the cones work during the day and the rodswork at night. Thus, the human eye primarily views the NorthernLights in faint colors and shades of gray andwhite.

Craciun Landatxueta

Pundit

Can you see the Northern Lights in Minnesota?

Undisturbed by the light pollution ofMinnesota's urban areas, natural darkness reigns asyou venture into the northernmost reaches of the state. CookCounty visitors can frequently see the northernlights and Milky Way shining over Lake Superior and along theGunflint Trail.

Abderahman Rissol

Pundit

Why are northern lights green?

The Northern Lights are actually the result ofcollisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere withcharged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. The mostcommon auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced byoxygen molecules located about 60 miles above theearth.

Patricia Brendgen

Pundit

What color are northern lights?

The colors most often associated with the auroraborealis are pink, green, yellow, blue, violet, and occasionallyorange and white. Typically, when the particles collide withoxygen, yellow and green are produced. Interactions with nitrogenproduce red, violet, and occasionally bluecolors.

Geisa Bestges

Pundit

Can you see northern lights in Alaska?

The city of Fairbanks, in Alaska, is often citedas the best place to see the Northern Lights in theUnited States. It's home to the Geophysical Institute at theUniversity of Alaska, Fairbanks, which issues forecasts onAurora viewing conditions.

Claudinei Falizol

Teacher

Are there Southern Lights?

Yes, there are southern lights. The auroraaustralis occurs around the southern magnetic pole, much asthe aurora borealis (northern lights) occurs around thenorthern magnetic pole.

Kimberley Wilegorsk

Teacher

How does pollution affect the aurora borealis?

The Aurora Borealis occurs when chargedparticles, ejected from the Sun by solar wind, come into contactwith Earth's magnetic field and interact with our own atmosphere.From the ground, this phenomenon manifests as shimmering coloredlights. But light pollution can make them difficultto see.

Soumiya Roever

Teacher

How does Aurora occur?

Charged particles are the "ammunition" of anaurora. The short answer to how the aurora happens isthat energetic electrically charged particles (mostly electrons)accelerate along the magnetic field lines into the upperatmosphere, where they collide with gas atoms, causing the atoms togive off light.

Pepa Schambelon

Teacher

What is auroral activity?

The Aurora is an incredible light show caused bycollisions between electrically charged particles released from thesun that enter the earth's atmosphere and collide with gases suchas oxygen and nitrogen. The lights are seen around the magneticpoles of the northern and southern hemispheres.

Souhila Aizcorbe

Reviewer

When can you see the Aurora Borealis in Alaska?

Alaska's Northern Lights season is betweenmid-September and late April, peaking in March, though it's aseason defined more for its long, dark nights than for solaractivity. Forecasting the Northern Lights means predictingsolar activity, which is virtually impossible with our currenttechnology.

Julito Sobera

Reviewer

When can you see the Northern Lights in Sweden?

The best chance of seeing the Northern Lights atAbisko is between November and end March. The NorthernLights, or aurora borealis, appear around the beginningof September in and around Kiruna to around the end of March allover Swedish Lapland.

Xiulan Avril

Reviewer

Why are the northern lights moving south?

The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis,are caused by charged gas particles - that flow away from the Sunas a "solar wind" - interacting with the Earth's magnetic field.This solar wind has its own magnetic field, which can "drag away"the Earth's magnetic field lines, disconnecting them from ourplanet.

Moraima Zelinka

Reviewer

Where is the auroral oval?

importance in magnetosphere
The portion of Earth that traverses the midnightportion of the auroral oval is known as the auroralzone. In the Northern Hemisphere this zone lies along a curveextending from the northern regions of Scandinavia through Iceland,the southern tip of Greenland,…