Watch: Mesmerising video of 'Watermelon Aurora' dancing over Alaska skies

Adorned with stunning shades of pink and green, it was an ethereal light show for skywatchers

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Photo: Screengrab
Photo: Screengrab

Published: Tue 28 Nov 2023, 8:08 PM

In what was a breathtaking sight, people in Fairbanks witnessed a spectacular aurora dancing over the Alaska skies on Sunday. Adorned with stunning shades of pink and green, it was an ethereal light show for skywatchers. The video of the sky has gone viral on the internet, and people are calling it the “watermelon aurora.”

AccuWeather posted a video on X, formerly Twitter, showcasing the magnificent view. The text attached to the clip read, "Fairbanks, Alaska, witnessed a 'watermelon aurora' on Sunday. High-energy nitrogen emissions painted the sky in beautiful pink and green hues during a substorm."

Watch the video here:

What are Auroras?

Auroras, also referred to as the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis) in the Northern Hemisphere and the Southern Lights (Aurora Australis) in the Southern Hemisphere, are natural light displays in the sky. These phenomena are caused by the interaction between charged particles from the sun and the Earth's magnetic field and atmosphere.

As per the Space Weather Prediction Centre: "The aurora is one manifestation of geomagnetic activity or geomagnetic storms. As the solar wind increases in speed and the interplanetary magnetic field embedded in the solar wind turns southward, the geomagnetic activity will increase and the aurora will become brighter, more active, and move further from the poles.

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"Even moderate solar wind creates an aurora so there is usually a weak aurora somewhere even when there isn’t a big geomagnetic storm."

Where can you see Auroras?

Auroras are most commonly visible near the Earth's polar regions, around the magnetic poles. The Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, can be seen near the North Pole (Northern Canada, Alaska, Greenland, Norway, Sweden, Finland, and Iceland), while the Southern Lights, or Aurora Australis, are visible near the South Pole (Southern Australia and Southern parts of Southern parts of Argentina and Chile).

In addition to polar regions, auroras can sometimes be seen at latitudes farther from the poles during periods of strong solar activity.

The best time to see auroras is winter when the nights are longer and darker. It is also crucial to be away from light pollution for optimal viewing conditions. Keep in mind that auroras are a natural phenomenon, and their visibility depends on solar activity, so there are no guarantees of seeing them even in the recommended regions.

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