The Northern Lights


What are the northern lights?

Auroras are natural displays of light in the sky that can be seen with the naked eye. Auroras occur when charged particles (electrons and protons) collide with gases in the Earth's upper atmosphere, producing tiny flashes that fill the sky with colourful light. As billions of these tiny flashes occur in sequence, the lights appear to move or "dance."

In the northern hemisphere, the lights are named aurora borealis, or northern lights, while in the southern hemisphere they are called aurora australis, or southern lights.

AuroraMAX Summer Guest Cameras

Night skies are getting brighter and brighter in Canada's North as the June solstice approaches, making it increasingly difficult to see the aurora. While our Yellowknife observatory takes a short break until dark skies return in August, our nightly live broadcast will feature a series of guest cameras from the University of Calgary's network of science cameras (available in standard broadcast resolution only), starting with Fort Smith, N.W.T.

Tune in throughout the summer to compare the different locations, and see if you can spot the subtle differences in the colours and shapes of the aurora due to differences in the shape of Earth's magnetic field at each location.

Science is beautiful. Don't miss a minute of it!



Science is beautiful