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Northern Lights Shine On Humpback Whales — Must See!

The aurora borealis — also called the northern lights — has fascinated humankind since before written history. Along with its southern counterpart the aurora australis, this mystifying phenomenon is the only evidence we can see that our earth gets more than mere light from our sun.

In fact, the sun is constantly barraging us with subatomic particles, including protons, neutrinos, and electrons; these waves of invisible matter are called “solar wind.”

Thankfully, our planet’s magnetic field protects us from the solar wind’s potentially damaging effects.

Solar particles interact with Earth's magnetosphere.

Photo Credit: SOHO via PPPL

As you can see in the photo above, sometimes the sun’s particles sneak past our protective magnetosphere, specifically around the north and south poles.

When electrons from solar wind get close enough to the surface of the earth, they can interact with the oxygen and nitrogen in our atmosphere, causing them to cool down and then release photons — or light particles — which we can then see in the form of an aurora.

Scandanavia, because of its proximity to the north pole, is a great place to view the northern lights.

During one of those right-place-right-time situations, a photographer from Norway’s public television station (NRK) captured video of some humpback whales admiring a particularly stunning aurora off the coast of Kvaløya island.

Watch below to join earth’s (arguably) most majestic creatures in admiring the incredible beauty of our solar system.

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