Aurora Photos: Northern Lights Dazzle in Night-Sky Images

Aurora go Bragh

Aurora australis, the southern lights

(Image credit: Keith Vanderlinde, National Science Foundation)

This 2008 image, taken in Antarctica, capture's Earth's atmosphere in a St. Paddy's Day mood. Aurora australis, the southern lights, are caused by solar wind passing through the upper atmosphere. The southern lights are seen less often than aurora borealis, the northern lights, because few people brave Antarctica's dark, freezing winters. In the summer, when research scientists descend on the continent, almost-constant daylight overpowers the atmospheric display.

Airplane Aurora

Northern lights airplane shot

(Image credit: Nate Bolt )

The northern lights illuminate the sky in this image captured by photographer Nate Bolt during a flight from San Francisco to Paris. Bolt set up his camera in an empty seat facing a window and snapped more than 2,400 shots during the 11-hour flight. A time-lapse video of the flight can be seen at beepshow.com.

Image from Terje Sorgjerd's "The Aurora"

Norwegian photographer and skywatcher Terje Sorgjerd created an amazing video of the March 2011 auroras, or northern lights, which appear in this still from his project, entitiled "The Aurora.”

(Image credit: Torje Sorgjerd)

Norwegian photographer and skywatcher Terje Sorgjerd created an amazing video of the March 2011 auroras, or northern lights, which appear in this still from his project, entitiled "The Aurora.”

Ring Around The Sky

Iceland aurora

(Image credit: Stephane Vetter )

Take a minute to oooh and aaah. In this composite photograph, the northern lights, or aurora, reflect off Jökulsárlón, a glacial lake in Iceland. Photographer Stephane Vetter stitched together six photographs to make this image, which reveals the band of the Milky Way galaxy, the Pleiades star cluster and the Andromeda Galaxy in the night sky. The photo took first place in 2011's Second International Earth and Sky Photo Contest.

[Related: Photos: Contest Showcases Night Sky Sparkle]

Eerie Sky Lights

northern lights

(Image credit: Rafael Poyatos, Centre for Ecological Research and Forestry Applications, Barcelona – Spain.)

Northern lights lit up the sky after researchers completed their fieldwork near Kevo, in the northernmost Finnish province of Lappi (Finnish Lapland).

Also called auroras, northern lights form when charged particles flow from the sun in a kind of "solar wind" and enter Earth's magnetic field, revving up electrically charged particles trapped there. "The high-speed particles then crash into Earth's upper atmosphere over the polar regions, causing the atmosphere to emit a ghostly, multicolored glow," according to NASA. [Photos: Auroras Dazzle Northern Observers]

Iceland Skies

Intense northern lights on the Reykjavik coast, Iceland.

(Image credit: PavelSvoboda / Shutterstock)

Intense northern lights on the Reykjavik coast, Iceland.

Iceland Skies

northern lights shine over iceland

(Image credit: James Thew / Shutterstock)

Bright aurora borealis flash over Southern Iceland, in February 2011.

Lights Over Iceland

northern lights shine over iceland

(Image credit: halldore / Shutterstock)

Northern lights shimmer over Iceland.

Alaska Awes

northern lights over fairbanks, alaska

(Image credit: Roman Krochuk, Shutterstock)

One of the nice and powerful aurora displays near Fairbanks, Alaska, November 2005.

Pink Skies

northern lights turn alaska skies pink

Aurora borealis turns the skies pink over the Copper Center in Alaska.

Lake Reflection

northern lights in canada

(Image credit: Pi-Lens / Shutterstock)

Intense aurora borealis shine in moonlit night being mirrored on Lake Laberge, Yukon Territory, Canada.