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What is more beautiful on a cold winter’s night than catching a glimpse of the northern lights or “aurora borealis” dancing across the sky?


In this next edition of LIVE@Frost Science, we are proud to welcome solar physicist Dr. Pål Brekke of the Norwegian Space Agency as we explore The Northern Lights – from ancient myths to modern science. This stunning phenomenon is deeply embedded in the mythology of many cultures, and in the past, the causes of northern lights were ascribed to everything from dancing spirits to God’s anger. But no one suspected a connection with the Sun until a little more than a hundred years ago, when an eccentric Norwegian scientist, Kristian Birkeland, realized that the Sun bombards the Earth with particles.

Today we observe the Sun from satellites and can predict the northern lights. Scientists are using ground-based observatories, sounding rockets and satellites to understand the secrets behind the aurora – and to better understand the Sun-Earth connection. With our ever increasing technology-based society, this research also has important practical implications as well.

This multimedia LIVE@Frost Science presentation will take the audience through the history of this phenomenon from ancient times to modern space-based science, along with learning the best places to travel for experiencing the aurora. The lecture will also include several clips from a new, award-winning documentary “The Northern Lights – a Magic Experience” as well as stunning real-time video of the northern lights.

Admission is complimentary. Tickets are limited to two per transaction. Program will take place inside the Frost Planetarium.

Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Program starts promptly at 7:00 p.m. Seating is first-come, first-served. Snacks and beverages will be available for purchase prior to the event. (Food and beverage is not allowed inside the Frost Planetarium).

Please note registration to the event does not include museum admission. Museum exhibitions close at 6:00 p.m. Onsite parking is available in the museum garage for $8 flat rate starting at 6:00 p.m.

About the Speaker

Dr. Pål Brekke is a solar physicist and an expert on the northern lights. He currently works as a senior advisor at the Norwegian Space Agency. Previously he worked for six years at NASA Goddard Space Flights Center as the Deputy Project Scientist for the legendary sun-observing satellite, SOHO. He received a Fulbright Fellowship in 1994, ESA´s Exceptional Achievement Award in 2002, and laurels for team achievements from the International Academy of Astronautics in 2003. He is a Norwegian delegate to several European Space Agency program boards and also a Prof. II at the University Center at Svalbard (UNIS). Dr. Brekke is also an author of several international popular science books about the Sun and the northern lights which have been translated into seven languages. He recently produced the award-winning documentary “The Northern Lights – a Magic Experience” and is a member of the exclusive Explorers Club in New York.

Parking Instructions

  • Onsite parking is available in the museum garage for $8 flat rate starting at 6:00 p.m.