I will never get used to the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, dancing their light show across the northern night sky. There is something about them that makes even a long time Alaskan pull over on the side of the road to watch a particularly beautiful display.

What are the Northern Lights? The simplest explanation is that just as the gas in a neon light when charged with electricity glows, so the gas in the atmosphere when charged with electric particles from the sun, glows with color. Learn more about our northern nights by checking out these links.

"N is for Northern Nights and Northern Lights"

Marilyn Morgan ( ) has granted permission to put her chapter "N is for Northern Nights and Northern Lights" from book "Alaska Alphabet Stories and Activities". on-line. There is a wonderful story, activities, and more waiting for you to discover!

More links to learn about the Aurora

Spectacular photos of the aurora from Jan Curtis.
  • The Aurora Page
  • Pictures of Auroras
  • Aurora Borealis- the northern lights article from Way North magazine, a publication from TromsMuseum in Norway
  • Poker Flat Scientific Data Collection including all-sky camera images and movies from Poker Flat, Fort Yukon, Eagle, and Kaktovik.
  • Photographing the Aurora Borealis from the Bung family.

Aurora Related Lesson Plans

  • Auroras: Painting in the Sky an online lesson to auroras and the processes that create them from the The Exploratorium.
  • The Magnetosphere by Dr. James L. Green -essential in understanding why auroras happen.
  • Hidden Attraction: An Instructional Unit about Magnetism from NASA

booklet graphic The pamphlet "Understanding the Aurora" may be ordered from the Geophysical Institute.

Business Office
Geophysical Institute
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 9977-0800 (907) 474-7644
To cover printing, postage, and handling, please include a check or money order. Booklets are $1.25 each in quantities under 10, or $1.00 each in quantities over 10.

The Night Sky Is a page about viewing what's out in the night sky.

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