Captured Cosmos: The Best Videos of the Aurora Borealis

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REUTERS/Tore Meek/Scanpix

Aurora borealis, or northern lights, fill the sky over Finnmark during the 1000 km (621 miles) long Finnmarkslopet, world's northernmost sled dog race, taking place in Finnmark county, northern Norway, March 13, 2011.

Known for its awe-inspiring ability to light up the sky in brilliant colors, the aurora borealis–also known as the Northern Lights–is one of earth’s most impressive natural wonders.

The aurora borealis can be observed in the polar north when solar activity sends charged particles to Earth’s magnetic field where they collide with air molecules. This interaction releases extra energy in the form of magnificently-colored light.

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This year’s Northern Lights have lived up to expectations that they’d be particularly strong–a result of the February’s solar flare which was the biggest of its kind in four years. Aspiring documentarians and recreational filmmakers have captured some amazing footage of the phenomenon. Take a look at some of the best videos to inspire you to make it to a live show.

Terje Sorgjerd shot 22,000 pictures of the northern lights from a National Park in Norway, near the Russian border. He transformed the photos into a time lapse video:

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One Air France passenger had a row to himself from San Francisco to Paris and decided to set up a camera that would snap every two miles of his 11-hour flight, resulting in an amazing two minute video:

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This time-lapse movie shows a spectacular display of the aurora borealis from the ground in Fairbanks, Alaska:


NASA Astronaut Don Pettit created this video from several still shots of the northern lights from the International Space Station:


Not quite as scientific as the others, but this 1993 Coca-Cola commercial shows the power of the northern lights as a marketing strategy:


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