Naked eye view vs photos of the northern lights

The green light is really there, even though it is not nearly as vivid to the naked eye as it is to a camera.The reason the aurora appear gray is that human eyes don’t see in color well in dim light..At very low light levels, our vision is based entirely on rods, photoreceptor cells that are very sensitive to light but not to color..If aurora are bright enough, cones are activated and color becomes visible.Why green in particular?.It comes from excited oxygen atoms, emitting radiation at a wavelength of 557.7 nm..Other colors can be found in aurora, but green is most common for physical and physiological reasons..The physical reasons involve radiation and the chemical composition of the atmosphere..The physiological reason is that human vision is most sensitive around the frequency of green light.Related postsGraph spectra and chemical spectraConverting between RGB and wavelengthElizabeth’s photos on Instagram. More details

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