What actually cause Northern Lights?

The northern lights are a bit of a scam as you can hardly see them with the naked eye, in reality they look nothing like what it looks like in the pictures.

If you take a long exposure shot with a wide aperture the photo shows bright colors, but can hardly see anything with the naked eye.

I don’t know where you have been to see Northern Lights but they are definitely clearly visible with the naked eye in the high north. Best seen on clear, cold nights and away from light pollution. I used to see them at times here in Ålesund in my childhood, but now there are too much light pollution and not enough clear cold nights.

If you are willing to spend a ton of $$ to see them, here is some advise from an American-Norwegian that lives in Tromsø:

A couple of videos from Tromsø:

Northern Lights can also be seen while at sea:

The Northern Light (Aurora Borealis) seen from the EMMA / PHLZ last Saturday (15 januari), enroute from Uusikaupunki to Kokkola (Finland)
Photo: Ineke Greveling - Docent Zeevaart - STC Training & Consultancy Š
(Both ports are south of the Arctic Circle)

PS> Probably photographed through a wheelhouse window:

I guarantee you the Northern Lights there will look nothing like what is shown in the pictures.

People doctor the photos in Photoshop etc. to make them more colorful than what they were.

Here is an article what the Northern Lights actually look like through the naked eye versus photograph.

I can guarantee you that I have seen bright Northern Lights dancing in the sky with my own eyes (no photoshop)
I have experienced them both here in Ålesund, (62.5N) and during a winter served north of the arctic circle while doing my national service in the Royal Norwegian Navy.

The article you posted a link to is about Aurora Australis as seen from somewhere in New Zealand (40-47S), prove that you can enhance (or reduce) colours in picture by using Photoshop etc.
It does not say anything about what Aurora Borealis looks like from Tromsø, or anywhere else north of the arctic circle on a cold dark night…

PS> I have seen Borealis Australis from Tierra del Fuego (54S) which was a lot weaker even than what I have seen here in Ålesund.

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Everybody knows the real cause of Aurora Borealis is Seymour Skinner making his famous steamed hams.

But you wouldn’t know that… it’s an Albany expression…


yea, agree with ombugge, they are clearly visible and awesome but you gotta get north!