Travel Ideas

Watch the Northern Lights Via Livestream to—at the Very Least—Transport Your Mood to a Brighter Level

Kara Jillian Brown

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Photo: Getty Images / Natnan Srisuwan

We know that just looking at images of nature has the ability to help you relax. A virtual walk through a meadow can bring you a much needed dose of calmness and serenity. So if looking at nature is good for you, does that mean looking at a natural phenomena like, say, the northern lights, is great for you? I think so—and luckily, there’s a livestream for that.

This northern lights livestream allows you to view the aurora borealis anytime, any place. Of course, um, you’re better off watching at night when you can actually see the lights, but you get the gist. Shafts of colorful polar lights are sometimes visible in both northern and southern hemispheres. Though you can technically see the polar lights from anywhere on the planet, it’s easier to view them from higher latitudes in Alaska, Scandinavia, Antarctica, and Canada. The camera for this livestream is located at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre in Manitoba, Canada, directly beneath the aurora oval, which the center says is one of the best views on Earth.

Sten Odenwald, author of The 23rd Cycle: Learning to Live with a Stormy Star, tells The Library of Congress that the northern lights begin when solar activity emits a cloud of gas, which is called a coronal mass ejection.

“If one of these reaches Earth, taking about two to three days, it collides with the Earth’s magnetic field,” he says. “When a coronal mass ejection collides with the magnetic field, it causes complex changes to happen to the magnetic tail region. These changes generate currents of charged particles, which then flow along lines of magnetic force into the polar regions. These particles are boosted in energy in Earth’s upper atmosphere, and when they collide with oxygen and nitrogen atoms, they produce dazzling auroral light.”

To keep you company, there is also a comments feature on the northern lights livestream, allowing you to chat with other viewers about the dancing lights you’re enjoying together.

If you just can’t wait to catch the perfect view, browse the slideshow below, which captures northern lights from around the globe.

The northern lights as seen from around the world

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