"As magical as they appear, Northern Lights are a subject of science to understand. The Aurora Borealis (as science knows them) begins 149 kilometres from the sun’s surface as energetic particles are carried on solar winds. After a trip to earth at speeds of up to 1,000 kilometres per second, the particles that are not deflected by the earth’s magnetosphere are trapped in the magnetic field. These particles rush to the Polar Regions where access to the atmosphere is easier. When they come into contact with earth’s oxygen and nitrogen atoms, they become excited electrons that release light as they settle down once again.
The Northern Lights are not always on display and are sometimes obscured by clouds. Forecasts are available online at www.gi.alaska.edu/cgi-bin/predict.cgi and by phoning 1-800-423-7326."