Aurora Borealis – The Northern Lights!

Nothing I have ever seen is anywhere near as fascinating an unique as the Northern Lights! It makes you wonder, it makes you wanna change your life in order to see them again… again and again!

Always unique and different, always fascinating and always… difficult to “catch” – the famous Aurora Borealis!

And came the moment to see the Northern lights. Gone is the never-ending Autumn rain and it’s become significantly colder, it’s now impossible to sleep in the car without access to an electricity outlet but we’re well rewarded with what can be seen in the skies!

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Northern Lights near Holt, Norway

 

My first sighting of this phenomenon happened as far as August in Lofoten but it’s not until now that I’ve seen the real play of light in the frozen night sky of Norway.

I was standing in freezing cold in pitch black scared to death of bears wondering around the area hunting Moose but completely fascinated by what was happening above me.

The stripes of green lights were moving very rapidly across the sky above me, sometimes faint long stripes, sometimes very bright spots, seemingly as bright as the moon. Moving fast around a NW and NE points in the sky as well as “circling” the earth all the way across from NW to SE in a long “feathery” stripe.

There are two dimensions to the light – one is the slow-moving of the “lit” area of the sky as it “crawls” east to west slowly “saturating” the invisible magnetic lines of the planet, the other – it the fast moving “wind” spreading the light along the magnetic lines. Put together these movements create succession of unique patters of Aurora lights never to be repeated!

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Looking for the spot to observe the Aurora Lights

You never know when the light will “happen”, it could be 8pm, it could be 2am, the light comes and goes as it wishes, you may spend an hour in the cold catching faint background “radiation” barely sen in the sky to then go home and see an explosion of colours in the window, you run out and the show is almost finished for the next hour… or the next 10 minutes! This is amazing – good luck trying to play with nature here! You can’t prevail, you can only be a lucky one “allowed” to see the game of light.

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Moments before fog took away my Aurora Lights!

But the fortune favours the brave and attempting to see the Northern Lights will teach you cease the moment! And most importantly, value it!

I planned to see the lights one night, agreed to drive 50 minutes North of Tromso to see them at 12am as suggested by the forecast and guess what happened? The lights could be seen in the South-West at 9pm that night and not in any other time. We spent an hour getting to watch pitch-black skies.

I planned to see the lights all night between Norway and Finland, found a high-altitude spot for clear skies, the sun was shining all day and in the evening I took this photo of me watching the lights. I did not even have a tripod as it was set up at the right position and place for taking time-lapse of the lights all night, I had all my batteries charged and ready to go and guess what happened? That’s right, after I took the first photo early in the evening the icy fog blot out the skies, I spent the rest of the night not seeing any further than my head torch’s light beam!

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Waiting for the Aurora Lights in Northern Finland

The Northern Lights keep their secrets well, they won’t open their secrets to occasional tourists, they will favour the locals who endure the tough life in the Arctics in order to be rewarded with these phenomenal displays of charged particles cutting through the planet’s atmosphere!

It’s amazing how I’m finishing this article with a couple of what are pretty lousy photos of this amazing phenomenon but in my mid live the fast moving dancing stripes of green. Our cameras get better and better and you can now see pretty good photos of the lights but the only way to really understand what you’re missing out on you’ve go to go and see it for yourself! You will never forget what you’ll witness!

(Serge Fog 1-10 Oct 2016)

PS:

To see what your chances are for seeing the Northern Lights at your latitude you may wanna note down these web sites:

http://www.tv2.no/storm/nordlys/

http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/

http://www.yr.no/

 

 

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