Northern Lights Speculation

The northern lights have been around as long as humans have been on the earth with findings of drawings found in caves in south France dating back 30,000 years. Due to this there has been all kinds of speculation as to what the northern lights are, what causes the color, and even if they effect our lives in any fashion.

Northern lights in legends

Eskimos living in Greenland considered the northern lights the realm of the dead in which with the rapid movement of the lights, the deceased family or friends were trying to contact the living.

Native American legends explained the northern lights as gods dancing or even the belief that whistling to the lights one could bring up spirits.
Vikings called the northern lights dead maidens
In Scotland, the lights were known as Merry Dancers or Heavenly Dancers.

Ancient Romans believed the northern lights were the goddess of the dawn.

Menominee Indians, which lived in what is known as Wisconsin, believed the lights were the location of the giants that were spirits of great hunters.

In China, the northern lights were believed to be dragons fighting.

Other legends perceived the lights as a warning of famine or war. As you research the many legends of various cultures there is a variety of explanations for the mysteries lights in the heavens.

Speculations of philosophers

  • The Greek philosopher, Anaximenes, explained in his book the lights were seen in the 4th month on the 5th day in 593 BC without much explanation.
  • Hippocrates thought the northern lights were reflections of the sun.
  • Aeschylus also wrote the lights were reflections of the sun.
  • Aristotle had a very different explanation, which was heat from the sun that caused steam to rise up from the ground causing the colors in the sky.

Speculations of modern day

It is known that the northern lights are brought on by solar particles from sunspots entering the earth’s atmosphere where it collides with oxygen or hydrogen gases. At the time of the collision, the eruption brings on the brilliant colors in the sky. The solar winds inside the northern nights move the illumination to make the lights appear as if dancing. Blue illumination is seen when solar particles collide with nitrogen, green with oxygen, and red with oxygen.

The northern lights are still not explainable on various levels such as why radio waves are interrupted; telephones do not work, power outages, and electric gear stops working during the occurrence of the northern lights. Scientists can only speculate the causes, but there is no solid proof. Along with this, how the northern lights may effect our climate in the future due to the atmospheric changes that occur during the event is only a speculation.

The northern lights are natural phenomena that have baffled the world for centuries in one way or the other. Scientists can now simulate the northern lights in a lab setting; however, this does not help explain what the event may be doing to the climate or atmosphere of future generations.

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