Posted by Vishva News Reporter on March 2, 2006




Aurora dancing over Hauan by Eskil Olsen, Norway.
The photographer has managed to catch a very dynamic and powerful aurora. Its size is emphasized by the small trees and the small cabins in the foreground. One can clearly see how the aurora is lighting up the landscape. A spectacular display in real life, and a good photo.

Where are the northern lights?

Under normal conditions the aurora oval covers the following areas in the northern hemisphere:

  • Northern parts of the Nordic countries, including all of Greenland and Svalbard.

  • Northern parts of Alaska, USA.

  • Northern and middle parts of Canada.

  • Northern parts of Russia.

News from: Northern Lights website on which you would have lots more knowledge on the God's Light Show


Should you be outdoors aone evening during winter, take a minute and glance up at the skies. If you're lucky you might catch a glimpse of some flickering curtains of lights, apparently dancing across the dark sky. You are watching the northern lights, a celestial phenomenon that has amazed people for centuries.

Northern lights is a result of our atmosphere shielding against solar particles which would otherwise make our planet uninhabitable.

Northern lights is the name of a light phenomenon often seen in the northern regions. The lights have been around since Earth formed an atmosphere -the dinosaurs saw it, early humans saw it and our descendants will se it. The scientific name for the phenomenon is “Aurora Borealis”, aurora for short.

The northern lights have had a number of names through history. The scientific name for the phenomena is Aurora Borealis, which is Latin and translates into the red dawn of the north. It was the Italian scientist Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) who first used the expression. On the latitude where Galileo was living, northern lights consist of mainly red colour.

Northern lights originate from our sun. During large explosions and flares, huge quantities of solar particles are thrown out of the sun and into deep space. These plasma clouds travel through space with speeds varying from 300 to 1000 kilometers per second.

But even with such speeds (over a million kilometer per hour), it takes these plasma clouds two to three days to reach our planet. When they are closing in on Earth, they are captured by Earth's magnetic field (the magnetosphere) and guided towards Earth's two magnetic poles; the geomagnetic south pole and the geomagnetic north pole.

On their way down towards the geomagnetic poles, the solar particles are stopped by Earth's atmosphere, which acts as an effective shield against these deadly particles.

When the solar particles are stopped by the atmosphere, they collide with the atmospheric gases present, and the collision energy between the solar particle and the gas molecule is emitted as a photon - a light particle. And when you have many such collisions, you have an aurora - lights that may seem to move across the sky.

In order for an observer to actually see the aurora with the naked eye, about a 100 million photons are required.

Just like the northern and southern lights on earth, auroras also occur on other planets which have an atmosphere and a magnetic field. Both Jupiter's and Saturn's auroras are emitted by atmospheric atoms that are excited by the impact of energetic, charged particles from their magnetospheres. The magnetospheres on Jupiter and Saturn are very different - particularly in the way they are powered - from that of the earth.

Please click on the next line to find news of Edmonton, Alberta, Canada from which you can go and see northern lights in northern Canada...Edmonton is also the virtual headquarters of PVAF which provides resources to communities TO REMOVE POVERTY THROUGH EDUCATION on this planet Earth....


Fort MacMurray, Alberta, Canada
 becomes celestial tourist draw:
Hundreds of Japanese come to oilsands hub
in first holiday charter to showcase
Aurora Borealis

Paul Marck, The Edmonton Journal; Sunday, February 19, 2006

EDMONTON -- Two chartered jets full of tourists arrived in Edmonton on Saturday, drawn from halfway around the world by one of the leading lights of Alberta tourism.

Their destination: not the always-

popular Rockies, but the not so well-travelled moonscape of northern Alberta, where 640 Japanese vacationers hope to revel in the aurora borealis, or northern lights.

"Most people see the aurora as a thing of beautiful phenomena in the northern sky," said Shigeyuki Minami, whose group heads to Fort McMurray today to view the lights.

This is the first northern lights tour of Alberta to come from Japan, with another planeload of visitors expected next week.

Minami, chairman of the electrical engineering department at Japan's Osaka City University, is so interested in the aurora that he's been to Canada six times to see it. So interested, he replicated the experience in a vacuum tube on the lab bench.

Japanese are fascinated by the aurora because it's a part of nature not available at home and can't be duplicated in all its grandeur by science and technology, Minami said.

He and his party overnighted in Edmonton before taking a six-hour bus ride today to pursue their elusive pastime in the bleak landscape of an area north of Fort McMurray.

"This, for me, is what I want -- a frontier walk," Minami said.

Akima and Satoru Kyoko looked up the City of Edmonton's website and decided to come when they heard that All Nippon Airways Co. Ltd., a charter company, was planning a trip to the northern lights.

A pack of mascots, civic officials and staff from Fort Edmonton in period costume were on hand to greet the Japanese arrivals.

Edmonton Tourism and Travel Alberta officials said the charters could kick off a tourist boom outside the Rocky Mountains.

"These flights coming to Edmonton is really a significant opportunity for Edmonton and Northern Alberta," said Derek Coke-Kerr, managing director of Travel Alberta.

The province is pouring more money into tourism promotion in developing markets that show good potential, rather than chasing new markets that may not pay off, Coke-Kerr said.

"We are pursuing those areas more aggressively."
Ken Fiske, vice-president of tourism for Edmonton Economic Development, said the charter tours provide terrific exposure for the city at a time of year when Edmonton isn't typically a hotbed of tourism.

"What's important is there is a big international market and we're not a destination for a lot of it, but we are part of a vacation experience."


The northern lights shine brightly over Fort McMurray, where they're proving to be a draw to Japanese vacationers who can't see them at home. Photograph by : Bruce Edwards, the Journal, F

Yukihira Miyagishima, vice-president of marketing and sales for All Nippon Airways, said Canada is a growing destination for the Japanese charter business.

All Nippon began a Rocky Mountain junket last year, flying Japanese vacationers to Calgary and then touring to Banff. Last fall, it began an "autumn leaves" trip to Montreal.

"We wanted to do something else, especially during winter season. At the same time, the aurora borealis is very popular among the Japanese people and we've been trying to promote it as a new destination," Miyagishima said.

Alaska and Yellowknife have always been popular with Japanese vacationers in their northern lights quest. But now Fort McMurray, long considered an industrial outpost, could turn into a new tourism destination, Miyagishima said.

"Fort McMurray was not so popular with Japanese people until today ... . We wanted someplace in Alberta."

For centuries, Nordic folklore has considered the northern lights to be spiritual and possessing mystical powers. They're created by high-speed protons and electrons emitted by the sun. They become trapped in a radiation belt in space and are eventually channelled towards the polar regions by Earth's magnetic field.

Miyagishima said he saw them from Fort McMurray last year and they took his breath away.

"I was so impressed, I was so fascinated. It was just great."

All Nippon has another tour arriving in Edmonton on Wednesday, which will bring in two more planes full

of tourists and take the first group home.

The company will look at expanding the Northern Alberta charter next year if demand grows as expected.


© The Edmonton Journal 2006


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