Aurora Borealis

Aurora borealis or northern lights and a moonrise are visible in the sky above a Hvitserkur rock formation silhouette of Vatnsnes peninsula in Iceland, on Thursday, Feb.13, 2020. The legend goes that Hvitserkur is a petrified troll. The troll lived in Strandir, east to Hvitserkur, and wanted to tear down the bells at Thingeyrarkirkja church, since the bells bothered it. Fortunately the troll got caught by daylight and as we all know trolls turn into stone by when the sun hits the sky. Aurorae are caused by the interaction between energetic charged particles from the sun and gas molecules in the upper atmosphere of the earth, about 100 kilometres up. Streams of charged particles, called solar winds, flow out into space continuously from the sun at speeds of 400 to 500 kilometers per second. On reaching earth, the charged particles are drawn by earth's magnetic field to the poles, where they collide with gas molecules in the upper atmosphere, causing them to emit light.