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Northern Lights: spectacular photos from around the world

AURORA BOREALIS. Consequence of a solar storm which affected Earth from May 10 to 12, 2024, in the middle of Ascension weekend, the Northern Lights were seen. observed throughout the world. The most beautiful images and the explanation of the phenomenon.

[Update & day May 13, 2024 à 2:45 p.m.] Aurora borealis, these colorful manifestations in the sky usually visible on the poles of our planet, produced of the encounter between solar particles and the gases present in our atmosphere, made their appearance during the nights of Friday 10th Sunday May 12, 2024 in the United Kingdom, Scotland, Germany, Switzerland but also in France, throughout the territory, from Strasbourg to Mont-Saint-Michel, via Lyon or Nice . Outside of Europe, photographers from Canada, the United States and even Russia were also able to immortalize the celestial spectacle. Discover our photo slideshow of the most successful Northern Lights this Ascension weekend 2024:

The mechanism of the aurora borealis, discovered at the beginning of the 20th century by scientists teorologists, is the result of an activity intense solar. When the sun emits waves of particles highly charged with energy which come into contact with the magnetospheric (space surrounding the Earth above) beyond the ionosphere), the interaction causes this magnificent luminous phenomenon.

This phenomenon is particularly visible at high altitudes. proximity of the poles (northern regions) because the Earth's magnetic field deflects these particles towards the "polar horns".& nbsp;Thus, the North, Alaska, Iceland, Northern Canada and the Scandinavian countries are the places on Earth most affected by these polar auroras, almost all days. The phenomenon appeared exceptionally in France because these particles, this time endowed with greater energy, deviatedé oacute; in the atmosphere è low latitudes, far from the poles.

Où see the northern lights in France ?

France is a country located in well south of the Arctic Circle. It is for this reason that the probability The chance to observe an aurora borealis is extremely low. However, this phenomenon occurs from time to time as was the case on two nights from Friday 10 to Sunday 12 May 2024 because the earth's magnetic field has été jostled by solar winds! 

This type of event is often limited to however, to the regions located in the north of the country such as the departments of Pas-de-Calais, Brittany, North and Alsace. Nearby In cities, the Northern Lights are very difficult to see. observe à visible to the naked eye and are generally only visible in camera images.

What are the conditions for observing an aurora borealis?

To fully enjoy the aurora borealis, it is recommended to take advantage of the aurora borealis. to move away from sources of light pollution. So look for a place located near the city. &agrav; distance from urbanized areas. Keep an eye on the weather to choose a night where the weather is good. the sky is clear; or that the clouds are not too thick. Finally, you can monitor the Kp index which will allow you to know the probability of that an aurora borealis occurs.

How to predict the Northern Lights ?

It is impossible to accurately predict the date and time of the next aurora borealis in a given location. On the other hand, certain indices allow us to know the probability of This type of event occurs. For this, we are generally interested in the Kp index which provides information on the intensity magnetic disturbances that the Earth experiences. The planetary Kp index, adjusted to day every three hours, is available on the SpaceWeatherLive website.

To find out if the Northern Lights are present, If you plan ahead, it is generally advisable to do so. to follow the evolution of this indicator which reflects the occurrence of solar eruptions. The latter emit solar winds which can, if they cross the trajectory of the Earth, be affected by solar winds. the origin of spectacular northern lights depending on their intensity.

What is an aurora borealis?

The Northern Lights are atmospheric phenomena that can be observed at the Earth's poles. They appear as luminous clouds that appear to dance in the night sky. Although they have been interpreted in different ways in history and according to folklore, these luminous veils are in reality related to the activity of the Sun which regularly bombards the Earth with energetic particles. When these reach the earth's atmosphere, they interact with the gases that make up our atmosphere, causing these celestial manifestations.

Northern Lights: spectacular photos from around the world

Aurora Borealis photographed at Tromsø in Norway © jamenpercy – stock.adobe.com

What causes the northern lights?

The Sun emits electrically charged particles in all directions, including towards our planet. The latter is protected from these particles by the earth's magnetic field, a true invisible shield generated by the Earth's magnetic field. by the movements of the Earth's liquid core. When the solar wind encounters this protective barrier, it deforms, but generally prevents penetrating particles. to be in the atmosphere.

Northern Lights: spectacular photos from around the world

Earth's magnetic field protects our planet from solar flares © Naeblys – stock.adobe.com

However, it happens that solar winds are more violent than usual. This is particularly the case during solar flares of great intensity. In this case, the magnetic field is disturbed. and the particles emitted by the Sun pass this invisible barrier. It is the encounter of these particles with the gases of the earth's atmosphere which generates the northern and southern lights.

When energetic particles emitted by the Sun enter the atmosphere, they encounter the particles that make up the gases of the upper atmosphere and collide with them. "&Electrons and protons then excite the atoms which constitute these gases and, through a phenomenon called & ionization, transmit an electric charge to them. It's coming back to their initial state that the atoms of the earth's atmosphere will release light energy, in the form of photons" explains Geo magazine. It is therefore these electrical interactions which generate luminous and colored bands above our heads.

What explains the color of the northern lights?

Sometimes green, sometimes red or pink, the northern and southern lights are adorned with varied colors and can offer very different shows ;day renters & the other. "At the moment of collision, these particles emit light. The colors differ depending on the atoms stimulated, from red to green, including violet or yellow. Gradients can represent all hues of the color spectrum “ explains National Geographic magazine.  The color of an aurora borealis depends on the altitude at which it is located. which it is formed as well as the nature of the gases present in it. this height.

Thus, when they form & At low altitude, around 100 kilometers, the aurora can appear in the form of a green veil in the presence of oxygen. ne, pink or red in the presence of nitrogen or blue or purple in the presence of helium or hydrogen.  À highest altitude, around 300 à 400 kilometers, oxygen can also give a red tint to the glow.

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116