Episode available within Canada only.

The northern lights (aurora borealis) are one of the greatest natural wonders of our world. They have dazzled people for thousands of years and intrigued scientists for centuries. What causes the kaleidoscope of colours, patterns and shapes? Why do the northern lights sometimes appear near the equator? And could knowledge of Earth’s auroras help answer questions about life on other planets?

Now, the mysteries of the lights are being uncovered thanks to an international team of scientists.

David Suzuki journies to the freezing conditions of the Northwest Territories, to meet the experts working on pioneering experiments that hope to answer the biggest mysteries about the lights. On this dazzling expedition, he uncovers how these celestial fireworks form and why they dance in a whole pallet of colours across the night sky. He seeks to find out why they are normally only seen in narrow bands of the sky around the North (or South) Pole, and why solar storms can make aurora appear as far south as the Caribbean.

David joins Dr. Chris Cully as he sends a balloon, equipped with sensitive instruments, into the heart of the aurora, discovering why they occur in a pulsating pattern during the night. He joins Emma Spanswick, from the University of Calgary, as she sets up a 360° camera network across Canada, in a mission to image the entire kaleidoscope of the aurora — from horizon to horizon.

He accompanies dedicated teams of aurora chasers as they hunt to reveal the cause of a newly discovered band of bright violet light that stretches across the aurora-lit night sky. At the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, David meets scientist Nicky Fox who’s studying one of the most extreme aurora events ever recorded, revealing how it was caused, and its effect on the earth.

MORE:
The vivid ever-changing northern lights can be seen from space
This man chases Alberta's storms in the summer and northern lights in the winter
We searched the internet for the most stunning videos of the aurora borealis

During his stay in the Arctic, David spends time with a First Nation community to learn about their beliefs — how the lights are the dancing souls of their ancestors. And in California, he joins scientists using the aurora to probe an incredible new avenue of research: the hunt for life on alien worlds.

This epic adventure builds a vivid picture of the magic of the northern lights. With dynamic real-time imagery of the beautiful spectacle and immersive CGI, the intricate science of the northern lights comes to life, showing how the dazzling lights in our atmosphere are produced, and what they can teach us.

Credits (Click to expand)

THE WONDER OF THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

THE NATURE OF THINGS

With DAVID SUZUKI

Executive Producers
ALAN HANDEL (CAN)
DAN KENDALL (UK)
CARLO MASSARELLA (UK) Written, Produced and Directed by
TOM RANSON (UK)

Assistant Producer
MAIA KRALL FRY (Germany)

Story Consultant
ALLEN J ABEL (Canada)

Editor
NICK RAYMENT (UK)

Camera
MARK FOERSTER (CAN)

Camera Assistants
BARD GRAPE (Norway)
KEATING SMITH (CAN)

DV Directors
MARK ATWILL (UK)
HENRY FRASER (UK)

Sound
BOBBY O’ MALLEY (CAN)

Visual Effects/Graphics
ARTIFEX ANIMATION STUDIOS INC. (CAN)
MARC HALL (CAN)

Original Music
DINO EMILIO GIANCOLA (CAN)

FOR WINDFALL FILM LTD.
Head of Production
BIRTE PEDERSEN (Danemark)

Line Producers
ANNABEL WALKER (UK)
KAREN LEE (UK)

Production Co-ordinator
MELANIE ROUSSEL (UK)

Head of Development
LEESA RUMLEY (UK)

Production Accountant
ELIZABETH RICHARDS (UK)

Co-Production Consultant
TOM PARKHOUSE (UK)

FOR HANDEL PRODUCTIONS INC.
Line Producer
PHILIPPE CHABOT (CAN)

Production Co-ordinator
ERIC BINDMAN (CAN)

Business and Legal Affairs
JOE IACONO (CAN)
SYLVIE HÉBERT (CAN)

Off-Line Post Production Facilities
ARGONON POST (UK)

Head of Post Production
SANDRA THERON (UK)

Post Technical Supervisor
STEPH ENGALL (UK)

Finishing Post Production Facilities
POST MODERNE (CAN)
AUDIO POST PRODUCTION SPR (CAN)

Coordinators
CARA DI STAULO (CAN)
BENOIT LEDUC (CAN)

Colourist
CHARLES BOILEAU (CAN)

On-line Editor
ANNAËL BEAUCHEMIN (CAN)

Dubbing Mixer
JEAN-PIERRE BISSONNETTE (CAN)

Sound Editor
LUC RAYMOND (CAN)

Archive Researcher
TOM PUCHNIAK (CAN)

Stock Footage
NASA
Canadian Space Agency
Chris Ratzlaff
Richard Dunstan
Christy Turner
Manbahrat Singh Dhadly
Catalin Tarpadel
John Barnes
David T King Jr.
Vanexus Photography
Dirk Obudzinski
Othmar Seidner
Paulo Fedozzi Siv Heang Tav
José Francisco Salgado
Cynthia Salgado
Notanee Bourassa
John Carlstrom
Keating Smith
Paul Smith
Pond5

Library Music
Extreme Music Publishing
Focus Music
Universal Music Publishing

With thanks to
US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE

Card 7

FOR THE CBC
General Manager, Programming
SALLY CATTO (CAN)

Senior Director, Documentary
SANDRA KLEINFELD (CAN)

Executive Director, Unscripted Content
JENNIFER DETTMAN (CAN)

Director of Production, Unscripted Content
ALEXANDRA LANE (CAN)

Executive in Charge of Production
SUE DANDO (CAN)

The Nature of Things with David Suzuki

Produced by
Canadian Broadcast Corporation

cbc.ca/natureofthings

© 2018 Handel Productions (NL) Inc. and Windfall Films Ltd. All Rights Reserved

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