If you’re lucky enough to have seen the Northern or Southern Lights, what do you think you’re seeing?
This spectacular light display, called the aurora borealis or australis, is usually confined to the high latitudes at the Earth’s poles.
Many people view these shifting ribbons of light as a sort of otherworldly dance in the sky. Others see the swirling colours as a mystical painting come to life. Some indigenous peoples believed the eerie, glowing streamers were ancestral spirits.
But when you look at the auroras, what you’re really seeing is a battle.
The entrancing, ghostly lights result from charged particles from the Sun interacting with the Earth’s magnetic field. These particles, borne on the solar wind, are constantly bombarding our planet. At times they’re more intense, as during periods of high sunspot activity.
The Earth’s magnetic field protects us from this barrage of particles, like a “deflector shield” in a science fiction movie. Without this protection, the solar wind would eventually kill us.
Our magnetic field is always there, an invisible but highly effective shield. It deflects 98% of the particles spewed out by the Sun in our direction, but is slightly weaker near the poles. During the ethereal display known as the Northern and Southern Lights, our magnetic blanket becomes visible as it works to protect us.
What we see as an intriguing and beautiful phenomenon is actually visible evidence of a fierce battle going on for our lives.
Likewise, in life, sometimes we don’t fully understand the battles that are raging behind the scenes.
Unknowingly, as we go about our daily lives, believers are being protected by heavenly forces from harm. We usually can’t see these protective beings, but they’re there nonetheless, working on our behalf.