Northern Lights is a common name for the Aurora Borealis (Polar Aurorae) in the Northern Hemisphere.
The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.
Where is the best place to watch the Northern Lights?
A photographer spent eight hours a night, braving snow and fierce winds to capture these stunning images of the Northern Lights.
They were taken by 27-year-old Swiss Stefan Forster, during his time in Iceland, Greenland and Norway.
Stefan, who has visited Iceland six times to photograph the stunning natural phenomena, braved fierce winds and minus 6 degrees to get perfect shots.
'Aurora borealis', the lights of the northern hemisphere, means 'dawn of the north'. 'Aurora australis' means 'dawn of the south'.
In Roman myths, Aurora was the goddess of the dawn. \par Many cultural groups have legends about the lights. In medieval times, the occurrences of auroral displays were seen as harbingers of war or famine. The Maori of New Zealand shared a belief with many northern people of Europe and North America that the lights were reflections from torches or campfires.
The Menominee Indians of Wisconsin believed that the lights indicated the location of manabai'wok (giants) who were the spirits of great hunters and fishermen. The Inuit of Alaska believed that the lights were the spirits of the animals they hunted: the seals, salmon, deer and beluga whales. Other aboriginal peoples believed that the lights were the spirits of their people.