The Alaskan Sky on Fire

The entire universe in blog form
May 10 2014 8:00 AM

The Sky on Fire: “Technicolour Alaska”

aurora
Quantum process writ large, and beautifully. Click to enplanckenate.

Photo by Alexis Coram, used by permission

In February 2014 photographer Alexis Coram went to Alaska with an eye toward—hopefully—catching an aurora.

What she got was magic. And by that, of course, I mean science and beauty. Watch her time-lapse video, “Technicolour Alaska”.

Advertisement

Wow. Hard to believe that’s her first time-lapse video! Her editing was great, matching the music perfectly (the title of the song? “Out of Darkness,” appropriately enough).

The colors (sorry, colours) are breath-taking. Most aurorae are green, and you can sometimes catch some red and even pink and purple if conditions are right. She caught all that, plus the mesmerizing roiling and curling of the lights as the subatomic particles blasted from the Sun shake the Earth’s magnetic field, sliding down them and slamming into our atmosphere.

That’s what causes the glow; the interaction of the tiniest things in nature. When those particles of the solar wind hit our air they excite the atoms there, causing them to glow. The art and beauty of nature is sometimes found at the intersection of the micro- and macrocosmic, of forces subtle and gross. I’m glad we live somewhere in between.

You can see more of Coram's wonderful photographs on her Smugmug and Facebook pages.

Tip o' the lens cap to Jeff Moreau.

TODAY IN SLATE

Medical Examiner

Here’s Where We Stand With Ebola

Even experienced international disaster responders are shocked at how bad it’s gotten.

Why Are Lighter-Skinned Latinos and Asians More Likely to Vote Republican?

A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 12:29 PM A Woman Who Escaped the Extreme Babymaking Christian Fundamentalism of Quiverfull

Subprime Loans Are Back

And believe it or not, that’s a good thing.

It Is Very Stupid to Compare Hope Solo to Ray Rice

Building a Better Workplace

In Defense of HR

Startups and small businesses shouldn’t skip over a human resources department.

How Ted Cruz and Scott Brown Misunderstand What It Means to Be an American Citizen

Divestment Is Fine but Mostly Symbolic. There’s a Better Way for Universities to Fight Climate Change.

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 22 2014 6:30 PM What Does It Mean to Be an American? Ted Cruz and Scott Brown think it’s about ideology. It’s really about culture.
  Business
Moneybox
Sept. 22 2014 5:38 PM Apple Won't Shut Down Beats Music After All (But Will Probably Rename It)
  Life
Atlas Obscura
Sept. 23 2014 9:01 AM Tristan Da Cunha: Life on the World's Most Remote Island
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 22 2014 7:43 PM Emma Watson Threatened With Nude Photo Leak for Speaking Out About Women's Equality
  Slate Plus
Slate Plus
Sept. 22 2014 1:52 PM Tell Us What You Think About Slate Plus Help us improve our new membership program.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Sept. 23 2014 8:46 AM How Men Talk About Relationships in Rom-Coms: While Playing Sports
  Technology
Future Tense
Sept. 22 2014 6:27 PM Should We All Be Learning How to Type in Virtual Reality?
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Sept. 23 2014 7:00 AM I Stand with Emma Watson
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 18 2014 11:42 AM Grandmaster Clash One of the most amazing feats in chess history just happened, and no one noticed.