If You Can't View the Northern Lights in Person, Watch This Stunning 4K Video of the Aurora Borealis Over Russia

Sjo/iStock via Getty Images
Sjo/iStock via Getty Images / Sjo/iStock via Getty Images

Seeing the northern lights is a bucket-list experience for many, but it's easier said than done. Even if you can swing a trip above the Arctic Circle at the right time of year, you'll still have to deal with cold weather and potential disappointment if the conditions aren't just right. Viewing the aurora borealis in a 4K video isn't quite as impressive as seeing it in person, but it is much more convenient.

This high-resolution footage reported by Nerdist was shot by marine biologist Alexander Semenov in May 2021. It shows colorful ribbons of light streaming over the White Sea in Russia. The video captures every part of the scene in clear detail, from the starry sky to the frozen water, making it easy to pretend you're really there. (If you were viewing the northern lights in real life, however, they would sound more like bacon sizzling in a pan and less like a movie score.)

The aurora borealis results from a reaction between the sun's rays and Earth's atmosphere. As charged solar particles fly toward our planet, they collide with gas molecules near the poles where the magnetic field is most concentrated. This "excites" atoms in the atmosphere, and as they revert to their original state, they release photons that light up the sky. Auroras come in a variety of colors, but vibrant greens as displayed in the video are most common.

Russia's White Sea is out of the way for most people, but you don't necessarily have to fly halfway around the world to see this phenomenon. Solar storms have been known to produce auroras as far south in the Northern Hemisphere as the contiguous 48 states—though they can be hard to predict. Curling up in your warm home and watching the video below requires much less planning (and less outerwear).

[h/t Nerdist]