Two lovely aurora time lapse videos

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Jan. 25 2012 2:54 PM

Two lovely aurora time lapse videos

The solar storm that impacted Earth Tuesday produced a lot of auroral activity, though it's hard to say if it was really that much stronger than usual. Still, any aurora is better than none... and I have two videos to show you!

The first was taken on January 22, and shows the effects of an earlier wave of subatomic particles spat out by the Sun. It was made in Birtavarre, Norway by Ørjan Bertelsen, who put together 1600 exposures to make it:

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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It's amazing to get the three-dimensional effect as the sheets of glowing atmospheric molecules pass overhead, and you're seeing them nearly edge-on. And I love picking out familiar constellations in videos like that; did you see Leo, Gemini, Cancer, and Taurus?

The second video was shot in Abisko National Park, Sweden, by Chad Blakley, and all I can think of as I watch it is how cold those people must have been!


As I mentioned in a radio interview on Tuesday, I've never seen a bright aurora. Once in Maryland I saw a reddish glow to the extreme north during a particularly big display, but that's really about it. Someday, though, I'll get a chance. As the Sun gets more active over the next two years I may very well finally see these magnificent light shows. After writing about them so much, I think I've earned it.

Tip o' the parka hood to John Markus Bjørndalen.



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