Aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights, is a natural occurring phenomenon that lights up the sky in northern latitudes' polar region. The aurora borealis most often occurs around the equinoxes, and a similar spectacle happens in the southern hemisphere, known as the aurora australis. Auroras occur when increased solar activity sends charged particles toward Earth.
From National Geographic:
Auroras are created when such charged particles flow along Earth's magnetic field lines. The particles hit the atmosphere at the Poles and excite air molecules, which release the extra energy as light.
Early 2011's aurora borealis was particularly intense due to the sun's most intense solar activity in 4 years. The series of massive solar flares triggered a bright aurora borealis spectacle widely viewed across northern regions.
Many spectacular aurora borealis videos have surfaced this year, including a Norwegian photographer's amazing time-lapse video, and another photographer accidentally stumbling upon an airplane view of the northern lights when documenting a flight from San Francisco to Paris.
Check out the best aurora borealis videos below, and vote for your favorite!