via Studiolit / Flickr

The northern lights or, if you want to get technical, Aurora Borealis, are one of the most beautiful displays on Earth. It's an incredible show of dancing green lights with the occasional appearance of blue, yellow, and red.

The lights are caused by a cosmic collision between between electrically-charged particles released from the sun that enter the earth's atmosphere and meet with gases such as oxygen and nitrogen.

The lights have been mythologized all over the world. The ancient Greeks believed it was caused by Aurora, the sister of Helios and Seline (the sun and moon), racing across the early morning sky in her multi-colored chariot.

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Hundreds of years ago, views like this were a dime a dozen.

These days, thanks to the ubiquity of artificial light (Good for many reasons! Love being able to read things after 8 p.m.! Thanks, Thomas Edison!), it's hard to get a clear view of the night sky unless you're lucky enough to be camping on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere on a cloudless night.

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1. Move over, Southern California. The coolest new place to catch a wave? The Arctic Circle.

Photo by Olivier Morin/AFP/Getty Images.

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Staring at these lights, called auroras, I was reminded that Earth is ... in space.

Take a second to think about it: Sure, you might be sitting in a chair right now, but that chair is located on a spinning planet that's flying through space.

And when you're flying through space, cool things are just gonna happen.

Things like auroras.

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