Most people has heard and read about the northern lights. But they sometimes ask a question like “what are the northern lights colors?” They wonder how the aurora borealis get the different colors they possess. The colors are displayed through the process that gives birth to this phenomenon.
When particles are discharged from the sun, they travel millions of miles towards the earth. During their journey towards the earth, they are irresistibly drawing towards the earth magnetic field. Both south, and north poles. The particles from the sun begin to interact with molecules and atoms of some elements. As they pass through the earth magnetic shield. This interaction now leads to a marvelous display of different colors in the sky. The aurora borealis has different color displays in the sky. Also, the aurora australis (southern lights) which is known to occur in the southern hemisphere.
Having known what brought about the colors of the aurora, the answers to the question, “what color are the northern lights?” is not farfetched.
What the northern lights colors?
There are different colors displayed by the aurora and each color is from the interaction or collision of the particles mentioned in the introduction with a specific atom or molecule of an element. The colors are:
- Orange: this is displayed once in a while compared to others
- White: this is displayed occasionally compared to others
The most frequent color displayed by the aurora is yellow and green northern lights. They are formed when the particles collide or interact with oxygen. Also, violent northern lights, red northern lights and some of the time blue northern lights are displayed from the collision of the particles with nitrogen.
There are most of the time differences to the northern lights colors that appear in the sky because of the type of collision that occurs. For example, if the particles collide with the molecular nitrogen they produce a violent color but when they collide with the atomic nitrogen they result in blue northern lights displays.
The altitude at which the collision occurs also affects the type of color the aurora will display. When the altitude is around 241 km high, it displays a green color. when it is 96.5 km it displays a blue color. Also, when is above 150 miles it will display red northern lights and when it is more than 60 miles altitude it will display violent and purple northern lights.
Furthermore, there may be a change in northern lights colors. When there are very strong solar flares or when maybe the lights manifest as a static band of light.
With all the colors mentioned above, I believe your question, “what color are the northern lights?” has been answered. However, you can get to see the colors of the auroras by watching the northern lights videos or by visiting any of the northern lights countries. You can check the countries where to see the northern lights here.