The Northern Lights head south

In recent days, the aurora borealis, better known as the Northern Lights, have been visible at more southerly latitudes than usual thanks to solar storm activity.

If you tried to have a look but were scuppered by the weather, or like us at the Science Museum you’re just too far south, enjoy these images of the aurora from our picture library instead.

The aurora and icebergs in the Arctic, as depicted in the Illustrated London News, 1849 (Science Museum).

This 19th century magic lantern slide shows the aurora (Science Museum).

The Northern Lights over Iceland, 2005 (Jamie Cooper / Science & Society).

Of course, if you’re far south enough, you’ll be looking for the Southern Lights instead. The aurora australis is particularly elusive, as there’s a lot less inhabited landmass at high southern latitudes than in the north. It’s also been putting on a more widespread lightshow in recent days. But it would be hard to beat this view…

A time exposure of the Southern Lights, as seen from the Space Shuttle Endeavour, 1994 (NASA / Science & Society).

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