Aurora Borealis Photos

A sample from my portfolio of stock photos of aurora borealis. See my stock photo section of the website for a complete array of over 150 Aurora borealis photos.

You’ll find aurora borealis photos from Wrangell St. Elias National Park, Katmai National Park, Denali National Park, as well as arctic and subarctic Alaska. An array of Aurora borealis photos from spring, winter and fall.

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, are a mystical, magical phenomenon like no other.

These often amazing light shows occur when highly charged electrons from the solar wind interact with elements in the earth’s atmosphere. The solar winds, traveling at speeds up to 1 million miles per hour can reach earth’s atmosphere less than 40 hours after their journey from the sun begins. Here they follow patterns and lines that are a function of the earth’s magnetic force, generated by the earth’s core and flow through an area of highly charged electrical and magnetically fields known as earth’s magnetosphere.

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Contact me to inquire about licensing any of these photos.

More Notes about Aurora borealis Photos

The term aurora comes from the Roman Goddess of the Dawn, “Aurora”, and the ancient Greek God of Wind, “Borealis”. Aurora borealis photos.

“Auroras are now known to be caused by the collision of charged particles (e.g. electrons), found in the magnetosphere, with atoms in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (at altitudes above 80 km). These charged particles are typically energized to levels between 1 thousand and 15 thousand electronvolts and, as they collide with atoms of gases in the atmosphere, the atoms become energized. Shortly afterwards, the atoms emit their gained energy as light. Light emitted by the Aurora tends to be dominated by emissions from atomic oxygen, resulting in a greenish glow (at a wavelength of 557.7 nm) and – especially at lower energy levels and at higher altitudes – the dark-red glow (at 630.0 nm of wavelength). ”
Here’s what I’m told: “As the electrons enter the earth’s upper atmosphere, they will encounter atoms of oxygen and nitrogen at altitudes from 20 to 200 miles above the earth’s surface. The color of the aurora depends on which atom is struck, and the altitude of the meeting”

Generally, the aurora borealis altitude is as follows:

  • Green – oxygen, up to 150 miles in altitude
  • Red – oxygen, above 150 miles in altitude
  • Blue – nitrogen, up to 60 miles in altitude
  • Purple/violet – nitrogen, above 60 miles in altitude

For licensing or purchasing any of these aurora borealis photos, please contact Carl Donohue. For information on my Aurora borealis photos tours, please visit Expeditions Alaska


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