University of Wisconsin-Madison

Week 33 at the Pole

NSF/I. Rees
NSF/I. Rees

If you’ve seen one, you’ve seen them all. Not so for auroras. These spellbinding light shows come in various patterns, shapes, and colors. They might appear as bright, strong bands of color, stretching across the full sky. Or as wispy, cloud-like streaks, confined to a single quadrant. Sometimes they shape themselves into recognizable objects. Their colors vary, too, with green predominant but red and purple sometimes visible as well. Photographs capture the splendor of these effects, but there’s one aspect missing—the movement.