Travel & Leisure

In Focus: Why Seeing The Northern Lights Should Be On Your Bucket List

In Focus: Why Seeing The Northern Lights Should Be On Your Bucket List

The Northern Lights were once believed to be a bridge that connected our planet to the heavens.  But today, the “Aurora borealis", as they’re also called, are better understood in more scientific terms. 

According to Northern Lights Centre, this celestial glow is the product of “collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere.” EarthSky also writes that when these charged particles strike atoms and molecules in the Earth’s atmosphere, the atoms get excited, which then causes them to light up.” Picture the sun blasting storms of charged solar particles in space. If the Earth is within path of that particle stream, our planet’s magnetic field and atmosphere react to create moving colors in the sky.    

[related: The Roundup: Earth Hour Activities to Check Out on March 19]

These shades really depend on the oxygen and nitrogen levels from where you’re looking. Oxygen makes greenish-yellow, while nitrogen is to thank for blues and reddish purples. As for their movement, their direction takes off from lines of force on Earth’s magnetic field. So they can appear as curtains of lights, swirls, or arcs. 

Even though research can very well explain the phenomenon, and despite the many photos that have been printed or uploaded online, the Northern Lights continues to pique people’s curiosity. Throngs of tourists travel from all over the world to be able to say that they stood underneath something that is, in the words of Destination Guide Editor Caroline Shearing], “captivating…strangely spiritual, and genuinely soul-stirring.” It is one of the wonders of the universe that can humble you, and change your perspective on how your existence fares with the rest of the galaxy. 


[related: The Six Fix: A Traveler’s Guide to the Most Photographed Landmarks (Part 1 of 2)]

Just where can one experience such mystical beauty? There’s the Scandinavian countries—Greenland, Iceland, and Russia to name a few. In North America, they’re found in Canada. You can also head south of the Land of Maple into Alaska in the U.S.

Besides New Zealand (where, ironically, you can see Southern Lights), The Last Frontier, as Americans call this state, was the chosen backdrop of Piolo Pascual’s latest flick. In it, the 40-year-old is a playboy father trying to mend his relationship with his estranged son, played by Raikko Mateo. To makes things more complex, he finds himself falling for a heartbroken woman, played by Yen Santos.  


Whether or not you’ve been lucky to witness them, be sure to catch Northern Lights: A Journey To Love in cinemas on March 29.


ALSO READ: In Focus: We'll Take You On A Tour Of Piolo Pascual's Three Homes In The City


Photographs from,, and Star Cinema 




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