25 January 2012

The Solar Storm and the Aurora

The biggest solar storm in eight years hit Earth last Thursday. Doomsday aficionados were disappointed yet again because big as it was, it didn't have any impressive effect on the Earth apart form the amazing beauty in the sky. All around the top of the earth, solar particles colliding with the earth's magnetic field created an Aurora Borealis that was a sight to remember.

This image by NASA shows the creation of new solar active regions following the solar flare eruption. The loop structures are made of superheated plasma, each one several times larger than the size of the Earth.

While the solar storm interfered with satellite transmissions and forced some planes regularly flying near the North Pole to change route, the lucky dwellers of the far off northern regions of the Earth were able to witness a massive light show in the evening skies.

My dear friend Mary of Inside My Hideaway was the first to ask me on Tuesday if we managed to see the spectacular Aurora Borealis but alas, the skies above Southern Norway were way too overcast. That also means that I didn't have the chance to make a single photo myself but thankfully there weren't clouds further north and further south and I can show you some stunning Aurora photos by other watchful eyes.

Northern Lights over Trondheim, Norway on 22. January 2012 taken by Schwebbes
Northern lights above Kvaløya, Norway on 23. January 2012, taken by Lars Tiede
Northern lights above Sweden on 24. January 2012, taken by razaonetwo
Northern lights above Finland on 22. January 2012, taken by Janne
Northern lights above Reykjavik, Iceland on 23. January 2012, taken by Matthias Burch
Northern lights above Fairbanks, Alaska on 22. January 2012, taken by Jason Ahrns
Northern lights above Inishowen, Ireland on 22. January 2012, taken by leppre

Truth be told, I am envious of everyone who had a good view in the past few days and managed to take a glimpse photo of that surreal light show in the sky. I must confess that witnessing Aurora Borealis is one of the most intense experiences for someone interested in nature and the world around. It is unforgettable even for those uninterested!

I remember sitting on the roof with my husband one exceptionally cold October night in Iceland, celebrating our first wedding anniversary with an incredibly colorful and mind-blowing display of the Northern Lights that seemed to go on for an eternity. A show that I knew was staged just for the two of us. At some moments the Aurora resembled this photo:

Northern lights above Fairbanks Alaska, 22. January 2012, taken by Jason Ahrns

As if I was watching a 3D movie, only it was real, I could have reached out and touched the dancing lights but I was afraid not to spoil the moment, not to miss a thing and I stood still next to my husband, freezing under the Northern sky that was talking to me.

I still remember how humbled and in awe I felt that night and I wish you all to have a chance to see the Aurora with your own eyes one day. You will never forget it, I promise.

Mary, this video is for you:

Auroras 22.01.12 Birtavarre Norway from Ørjan Bertelsen on Vimeo.