Arctic Circle? No, Aberdeen
Saturday 26 February 2011
To many Scots, "The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen" is a popular traditional song by Mary Webb – the sort of thing your Uncle Jimmy might sing after too many wee drams at Hogmanay, writes
However, the Northern Lights – or aurora borealis – are a regular feature of the night sky, from the autumn until spring, in the north of Scotland. This month, thanks to the solar flare eruption of 17 February, they have been particularly spectacular, and Royal Deeside, west of Aberdeen, has been as good a place as any to see them.
The Northern Lights are created by incoming solar particles colliding with gases in the Earth's atmosphere. Different gases produce different colours. At around 185 miles high, oxygen is the most common gas, and collisions there can create a rare red aurora.
The yellow-to-green light is produced by collisions with oxygen at lower altitudes (between 60 to 185 miles). At around 60 miles, nitrogen molecules produce a red light, which often seems to form the lower fringes on auroral "curtains", while lighter gases such as hydrogen and helium make blue and purple colours. Try explaining that to Uncle Jimmy when he's had a few.
elephant appealPrince William signs up for our charity appeal
elephant appealSo says man jailed for cutting off dead elephant's tusks
booksWe examine the best titles for teens
scienceResearchers teach border collie to understand sentences using more than 1,000 words
booksA Christmas story in six parts
travelWill high-value tourism help the workshops of this Renaissance city?
Geoffrey Macnab does not like the comedian's big screen debut
Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
Ten best places to live in the UK: Hart in Hampshire takes top spot
'Untrue statements' anger over work to make H5N1 bird-flu virus MORE dangerous to humans
Paul Walker's daughter Meadow attends Justin Bieber Believe premiere
Tom Daley ‘is gay because his father died’ says UK evangelist
Iain Duncan Smith leaves Commons food banks debate early
David Cameron takes his biggest gamble yet as he gets tough on Europe over immigration
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Anachronistic and iniquitous, grammar schools are a blot on the British education system
Scientists ‘incredibly concerned’ for fate of banana as plagues and fungus infections spread across world’s supplies
- 1 Top PR exec Justine Sacco under fire for sending racist tweet before flying to Africa
- 2 French pub fined €9,000 after customers returned empties to bar - because it's 'undeclared labour'
- 3 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 The publisher who played with fire: the battle for control of Larsson's £30m legacy
- 5 Police seize possessions of rough sleepers in crackdown on homelessness
- < Previous
- Next >
£40000 - £65000 per annum + Benefits : Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer (WPF...
£45000 - £65000 per annum + London: Harrington Starr: Senior Automation QA Eng...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Year 6 Teacher - Gilli...
Negotiable: Capita Education Resourcing Permanent Team: Teacher of English - S...