2022/02/25 The Aurora Borealis

‘The Aurora Borealis’

Helena Logan

(photo credit: pixabay)

    The Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights, is a natural phenomenon that occurs high in the northern hemisphere in a few countries around the world. I was lucky enough to grow up in Alaska where seeing the northern lights is a recurring, casual event. Since moving to Taiwan, one of the top questions I get after telling Taiwanese students and friends where I’m from is, “Have you seen…?” and then they proceed to point to the sky.  I always smile when this happens because it’s a nice reminder of how lucky I was to be able to observe the northern lights seasonally. It’s a surreal experience with vibrant colors of blue, green, pink, and violet, dancing across the sky. 

    About an eight-hour drive from my hometown of Anchorage, Alaska, you will find a small city called Fairbanks. Here is one of the best places to find the northern lights because it’s directly under the Auroral Oval (an area in which aurora activity is concentrated). The aurora season begins from August 21st to April 21st but I suggest visiting sometime between November and March because that is when they are their most active and you will get the best chance to see them. The best time of day to see them is at night (once the sun is down) but beware – Fairbanks is very cold. Expect temperatures to be anywhere between 0 to -40 degrees Celsius.

    A favorite activity locals like to do during the winter to stay warm while looking for the northern lights is to go to the Chena Hot Springs. Here, you can change into your bathing suit and relax in the natural hot springs while gazing up at the sky. One more tip: if you plan on visiting, be sure to search “aurora borealis tracker” with the name of the country you are traveling to in Google and you will find plenty of websites that share the northern lights forecast for the upcoming weeks.

    Not interested in traveling to Alaska? You can also find the northern lights in these countries: Norway, Finland, Scotland, Canada, Sweden, Iceland, Greenland, Russia, Estonia, and more!

10 Words to Learn


phenomenon (n.)

(英) something that exists and can be seen, felt, tasted, etc., especially something unusual or interesting
(日) 現象
(中) 現象
"Gravity is a natural phenomenon.”

hemisphere (n.) 

(英) one of two halves of the earth, especially above or below the equator 
(日) 半球
(中) (尤指地球的)半球
"The northern hemisphere"

recurring (adj.) 

(英) happening many times 
(日) 繰り返される
(中) 反復出現的
"The family relationship is a recurring theme in her novels."

proceed (v.) 

(英) to do something after you have done something else  
(日) ~へ移る、続けて~する
(中)  繼續進
"She sat down and proceeded to tell me about her skiing holiday."

surreal (adj.) 

(英) strange; not seeming real; like a dream 
(日) 非現実的な
(中) 超現實的
"The play was a surreal mix of fact and fantasy."

vibrant (adj.) 

(英) very bright and strong  
(日) 鮮やかな
(中) 活躍的;精力充沛的
"The room was decorated in vibrant reds and yellows."

beware (v.) 

(英) be careful about something
(日) 気をつける
(中) 當心,小心
"Beware of falling asleep while sunbathing."

gazing (gaze) (v.) 

(英) look at something or someone for a long time especially in surprise or admiration
(日) 見つめる
(中) 凝視,注視
"Annette gazed admiringly at Warren as he spoke."

tracker (n.)

(英) a person who is able to find something by following the marks 
(日) 追跡者
(中) 追蹤者,追捕者
"The tracker led them to the place where the plane had crashed.”

forecast (n.)

(英) a statement about what will happen in the future, based on information that is available now
(日) 予想、予測
(中) 預測,預報
"It is difficult to make long-term forecasts for a fast-growing industry.”