Watson Lake Yukon, Northern Lights Centre

northern Lights or aurora borealis are natural different colored light displays, which are usually observed in the night sky, particularly in the polar zone. Some scientists therefore call them "polar auroras" (or "aurorae polaris"). In northern latitudes, it is known as the aurora borealis, named after the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for north wind, Boreas. It often appears as a greenish glow (or sometimes a faint red), as if the sun were rising from an unusual direction. The aurora borealis is also called the northern polar lights, as it is only visible in the North sky from the Northern Hemisphere. The aurora borealis most often occurs from September to October and from March to April.

We would watch and watch the silver dance of the mystic Northern Lights

Aurora Borealis Viewing

Auroras are produced by the collision of charged particles, mostly electrons but also protons and heavier particles, from the magnetosphere, with atoms and molecules of the Earth's upper atmosphere (at altitudes above 80 km). The particles have energies from 1-100 keV. Most originate from the sun and arrive at the vicinity of earth in the relatively low-energy solar wind. When the trapped magnetic field of the solar wind is favourably oriented (principally southwards) it reconnects with that of the earth and solar particles then enter the magnetosphere and are swept to the magnetotail. Further magnetic reconnection accelerates the particles towards earth.

And soft they danced formthe polar sky and swept in primrose haze

Yukon northern lights

Typically the aurora appears either as a diffuse glow or as "curtains" that approximately extend in the east-west direction. At some times, they form "quiet arcs"; at others ("active aurora"), they evolve and change constantly. Each curtain consists of many parallel rays, each lined up with the local direction of the magnetic field lines, suggesting that aurora is shaped by the earth's magnetic field. Indeed, satellites show electrons to be guided by magnetic field lines, spiraling around them while moving earthwards.

and soft they rolled like a tide upshoaled with a ceaseless ebb and flow - by robert service

Welcome to the Northern Lights Space and Science Centre.

A unique facility built in 1996 to feature the amazing phenomena known as the 'Northern Lights' or 'Aurora borealis', the Northern Lights Centre boasts state-of-the-art panoramic video and surround-sound systems. The Northern Lights Centre also incorporates interactive displays that explain the science and folklore of the Northern Lights with the latest information about the Canadian space program. Canadian rocket technology played an important part in early Northern Lights research.


The spectacular dancing Northern Lights are showcased in Yukon's Northern Lights, a video that is broadcast in the NLC's domed 100-seat theatre daily throughout the summer season. During the winter season, nature puts on frequent displays of colorful lights outdoors so the Northern Lights Centre is used for community events, space science education, and movies.

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