Facts and Trivial Figures

Northern lights in IcelandThere are a few things about the aurora that often amaze people. One of the is the incredible forces that are at play. Here is a short list of interesting things about the aurora:

  • The speed of the plasma as it hits the stratosphere is between 10.000 and 20.000 km pr. second.
  • The energy released in one single solar eruptions is million times more than the energy of the Eyjafjallajökull eruption.
  • The height of the eruption columns can reach up to thousands of kilometers from the surface. The moon is 300.000 km from Earth.
  • One medium sized sun spot from wich plasma clouds come, could fit 4-6 planets the size of Earth.
  • People that live in arctic areas and see northern lights often do not have any folklore or tales connected to the northern lights. They are too common.
  • In southern Europe where the northern lights were seen maybe once every 150 years they had great effect on people. They were seen as predictions of war, plagues or something even worse.
  • In the Icelandic language we have a verb that describes the movement of the northern lights. It’s “braga”. This word has no other meaning and is not a metaphore for dancing like in so many other languages.

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