Although few of us live close enough to Earth’s poles to regularly observe auroras, we all have access to YouTube. In a new video marine biologist Alexander Semenov gives us an ethereal glimpse of a green aurora rushing through the sky over Russia’s White Sea. And because it’s a 4K video, it feels like you’re there! The haunting Hans Zimmer music helps with the vibe too.
Semenov recently posted the brief video of the green aurora to his YouTube channel. Semenov, who goes by Aquatilis on YouTube, gives no context for the video in its description. Although we know from previous videos that the marine biologist is the Head of the Divers’ team at Moscow State University’s White Sea Biological Station. And that he is a big fan of capturing surreal ocean moments on video.
In the video Semenov shows about a minute of green northern lights ribboning their way through a clear, starry sky. The aurora pulses in strength throughout the video; growing into a band of flaring, bright, almost white, green light around half way through. Shooting stars in the sky zipping by here and there add a special touch.
As for the science, auroras are a result of solar winds interacting with gases in Earth’s atmosphere. The solar winds—which are streams of charged particles released from the upper atmosphere of the Sun, or the corona—pass by Earth and are largely deflected by the planet’s magnetosphere. Some of the charged particles, however, hook around the magnetosphere’s edge and dive into the poles. When they do, they interact with oxygen and emit either an orange-red or yellow-green glow. The charged particles also interact with nitrogen, emitting a blue and/or purple glow.
Anybody who’s now in the mood for more ephemeral displays of cosmic beauty, auroras occur on other planets too. Planets like Jupiter and even Saturn have auroras appear at their poles. And nobody has seen those first hand. Which means Semenov will have to wait with the rest of us until we become an interplanetary species to see them.