…is the Aurora Borealis (Dawn of the north – named after the goddess Aurora, the goddess of dawn in Roman mythology)!!!!
After I was lucky enough to see a few Northern Lights last week, this week has been even more amazing. Two nights ago we were driving home to Akureyri from going rafting (which was a lot of fun, if you’ve never been white water rafting before I can only recommend it) and suddenly I looked out the window and in between all the clouds there was some sky and suddenly there it was…the greenish hue of the Aurora Borealis. Already super excited that we saw them again we decided to check the forecast for the next night and for the first time it was on a 6 (Very high activity). Off we were to find a good spot to wait, though we’ve been told that it is sometimes possible to see them from Akureyri, getting out of the city is best. Even though it was just barely 10AM we saw a green spot forming towards the east and then after just a few minutes there was green all above us. It was AMAZING and super hard to describe so here are some photos:
I still haven’t completely figured out how to use my camera best to photograph them but since they were so strong last night it didn’t seem to matter all that much. Mostly they were all this green but there were a couple that were really strong and had just a bit of purple along the edges.
The Aurora Borealis is such an interesting phenomenon and something that I’ve wanted to see for a long time. Of course now I had to read up on them a bit more to really figure out how they are created. It is really interesting. The lights are actually collisions between electrically charged particles in our atmosphere. Usually they are created after a solar storm which releases particles from the sun’s atmosphere. Once these make it to earth and collide with the particles in our atmosphere the aurora is created. Depending on what kind of particles they collide with the colors change. These greenish hues that we’ve been seeing are due to the oxygen molecules in the atmosphere that are located about 60 miles above the earth. The reason why it is only possible to see the aurora towards the poles is because the earth’s magnetic field is weaker around the poles, therefore some particles from the sun can come into our atmosphere. The Northern Lights also undergo cycles of high and low activity, where every 11 years they reach the peak of high activity. The last peak was in 2013 which is why its still possible to see them so strongly this year.