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The flickering light, greenish or reddish, that can be seen in the night sky in the northern parts of the world is called the Northern lights. The Latin name Aurora Borealis actually means "northern morning light". In the Sami language the word guovssahasat is derived from a word that also has to do with the morning light.

Most people are fascinated by the Northern lights. If you visit the northern parts of Scandinavia in the wintertime the chance is big to see them. On average you can see the northern lights in Stockholm one night out of twenty and in Kiruna almost every night. It has to be dark and relatively clear – and you also need some good luck. The most intense part of the northern lights goes on for less than ten minutes. Sometimes it can be difficult to distinguish between weak northern lights and a cloud. If it’s the northern lights you can see the stars peeping through. The northern lights are slightly green and change their form in a different way than a cloud. Very intense northern lights can also have reddish colours.

Indigenous peoples like the Sami and the First Nations in Canada who have traditionally lived in areas where you can see the northern lights, say that you should respect the northern lights and behave well. Many elderly people can tell you that they were taught by their parents to be calm and silent when the northern lights could be seen. An old belief is that intense, flickering northern lights means change of weather.

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