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Create the Northern Lights on Your Dinner Plate

By Erin Kirkland | October 13, 2017
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The Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, are a natural phenomenon visible in Alaska between September and April. Caused by highly charged particles interacting with Earth’s atmosphere, the lights can be seen in northeastern skies as swirls of green, yellow, red, and sometimes purple. Since Alaska’s famous midnight sun makes it difficult to view the Aurora Borealis during the summer, here’s a fun way to take ordinary ingredients and create something special, just like most things in nature.


Milk (preferably whole, and Alaska-produced, like from Havemeister Dairy in Palmer)
Dinner plate (try to find a plate with raised edges– a large pie dish also works well.
Food coloring (yellow, green, blue, red)
Liquid dish soap
Cotton swabs


Pour the milk onto a dinner plate until it reaches about a quarter-inch in depth.

Once the milk has calmed, add food coloring droplets to the center of the milk. Keep the droplets near the center of the plate of milk.

Grab a cotton swab and place a drop of dish soap onto the tip of the swab. Take the soapy end of the swab and dip the tip of the swab in the center of the plate of milk.

Hold it there for 10-15 seconds. Continue this process as many times as you like, using different colors and various drop placements.

Variations: Try different types of milk, like skim or half-and-half. Does the fat content of the milk affect the colors?

Article from Edible Alaska at
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