Northern Lights Tour and Aurora Borealis Travel Guide Guide for Northern Lights Tour – Aurora Borealis
  • Is it true that if you watch the Northern Lights, you get exposed to solar radiation?

    northern lights alaska
    Corporate Mom asked:


    I was telling my husband that I would love to see the Northern Lights sometime in my lifetime. He said that although they are beautiful, they are extremely dangerous because if you are outside watching them you get exposed to toxic levels of solar radiation. Can someone who lives in Alaska or someplace that sees them tell me if this is true?

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    Published on March 4, 2010 · Filed under: Astronomy & Space; Tagged as: , ,
    4 Comments

4 Responses to “Is it true that if you watch the Northern Lights, you get exposed to solar radiation?”

  1. How can they put off any level of radiation? I can’t for a moment believe that would be true. There are all kinds of tours for the northern lights, so that has to make it a reasonable doubt to them being harmful.

  2. Al Moskowitz said on

    Not true… The upper atmosphere is excited by the particles from the sun guided in by the earth’s magnetic field. The northern lights are a result of a reaction very similar to the mechanism of a neon sign and have the same level of toxicity – NONE. You are just as safe watching them as you are standing under the nightime sky anywhere in the world.

    Where he might be getting confused is the effect that can happen to you at the South pole. In Antarctica, the Ozone layer is largely missing, the continent is very high, dry and cold. These conditions in addition to the radiation that makes it to the surface because of the “Ozone hole” is very dangerous to an unprotected living organism…

    Hope that helps…

  3. xyzpdqfoo said on

    Not true.
    Well, technically, you’re exposed to solar radiation every day. That’s why sunlight feels so hot :P and that’s why people get skin cancer for tanning too much :(
    And, even more technically, all sunlight is solar radiation, even the visible light that helps you see.

    What you see as the northern lights though is charged particles spiraling around earths magnetic field lines. It’s quite harmless.

  4. neilsmyhero said on

    Absolutely, positively, NOT true. There is nothing even slightly dangerous about watching the Aurora Borealis, and it’s well worth watching, one of the most beautiful things in nature. If your husband wants to be a pansy, go out and watch them yourself.

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