The Aurora Borealis

Many people travel to areas near the Arctic Circle for a chance to see the aurora borealis, also known as the northern Lights.

The night sky is black. Then, beautiful colors appear. They are green. They are red. They are purple. They do not look like anything you’ve seen on Earth before. It is the aurora borealis [uh·raw·ruh baw·ree·a·luhs]. Since that is hard to say, many people just call it the northern lights.  

The northern lights has existed throughout history. Vikings believed it was light reflecting off the armor of the Valkyrie. Valkyrie were women warriors who guided the souls of the dead to Valhalla. The Inuit believed it was the result of spirits playing ball with a walrus head. Even today, people have different beliefs about the northern lights. Some Europeans believe you shouldn’t whistle when the northern lights appear. You could attract evil spirits! In North American, some Native Americans believe you should whistle at the northern lights. You can give spirits messages to bring to your ancestors.  

Science has an explanation for the northern lights. The North Pole has a strong magnetic attraction. That is why a compass always points north. Certain types of light get attracted to the North Pole. These lights make the spectacular colors of the northern lights. 

The aurora borealis is always happening. However, people cannot always see it. They need to be at the exact place at the exact right time. It is a tourist attraction in some places near the North Pole. These places include parts of Alaska, Iceland, Sweden, Norway, and Finland. Guides take people to places where they are likely to see the northern lights. 

What Do You Think? Would you like to see the northern lights? How long would you be willing to travel to see them? 

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