What Is Aurora Borealis? Know Whether India Witnessed Northern Lights That Illuminated Night Sky This May

What Is Aurora Borealis? Know Whether India Witnessed Northern Lights That Illuminated Night Sky This May

The most common colors of the Aurora Borealis are green and pink, though shades of red, blue, and purple can also be observed depending on the atmospheric conditions and the types of gases involved in the interaction.

Rahul MUpdated: Sunday, May 12, 2024, 10:44 AM IST
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What Is Aurora Borealis? | Andrew Markowitz/X

Some parts of the UK and the US witnessed a mesmerising night sky this May as the northern lights greeted them with immense beauty. The night sky illuminated and gave a colour display to soothe the eyes of people there. With this said, you might be wondering what are these northern lights which are also known as the aurora borealis. We have you covered, alongside revealing whether India has ever witnessed this stunning event.

What Is Aurora Borealis?

The Aurora Borealis is a rare phenomenon predominantly observed in the high-latitude regions around the Arctic Circle, which turns the sky to a magical sight with its breathtaking natural light display. It is described as a solar storm which is caused by the interaction between charged particles from the sun and the Earth's magnetic field.

Its Name Is Associated With Roman And Greek Mythology

Interesting is how the astronomical event gets its name. The name "Aurora Borealis" is derived from the Roman goddess of dawn, Aurora. Boreas refers to Greek god of winter and the north wind.

The Aurora Borealis is a mesmerizing and awe-inspiring sight, attracting tourists, photographers, and scientists alike to witness and study this beautiful display of nature's magic.

The most common colors of the Aurora Borealis are green and pink, though shades of red, blue, and purple can also be observed depending on the atmospheric conditions and the types of gases involved in the interaction.

Has India Witnessed Northern Lights?

While India isn't at the extreme north to usually witness the aurora borealis, the recent solar storm which hit the Earth on the intervening night of Friday and Saturday, May 10 and 11, was also observed in Ladakh. The Hanle Dark Sky Reserve in the Union Territory managed to captured the phenomenon.

"Auroras seen near the north or south poles are dynamic events. They keep changing. But the one witnessed at Ladakh was more stable, " said Dorje Angchuk, an engineer at the Indian Astronomical Observatory in Ladakh's Hanle, while adding mentioning about it as a "stable auroral red arc."

This is not the very first time to the region to witness the northern lights. Similar events left Ladakh with an enchanting night during April 2023 as well.

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