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How To Do a Northern Lights Demonstration

How To Do a Northern Lights Demonstration

The Northern Lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, is a natural phenomenon that occurs in the polar regions when charged particles from the sun interact with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere, creating colourful displays of light in the night sky.

Denise Ralph RSciTech creates a simulation of the phenomenon which is a great way to teach students or audiences about the science behind the Northern Lights and how they are created.

You will need:

  • 500ml conical flask
  • 200ml distilled water
  • 6g Copper (ii) Chloride
  • 20ml concentrated Hydrochloric acid
  • Aluminium foil 4/5balls scrunched-up
  • Wooden splint
  • Heatproof mat
  • Safety screen (not shown in video)
  • Safety glasses


  1. Put the distilled water into the conical flask.
  2. Add the concentrated Hydrochloric acid to the water and swirl to mix.
  3. Add the copper chloride to the conical flask and swirl to mix.
  4. Add the scrunched-up Aluminium foil to the conical flask.
  5. The reaction between the chemicals and foil should start forming Hydrogen gas.
  6. Light the splint and hold it over top of flask or just inside.

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