Aurora borealis

A couple of weeks ago my very good friend from Thessaloniki, Agni, returned from a trip to Finland and sent me these pictures of the Northen Lights, or to give it its correct scientific name, the Aurora Borealis. The Aurora occurs when streams of charged particles from the sun are driven out into space by the solar wind. They are largely deflected by the earths magnetic field but at the poles where the magnetic field is at it’s weakest they can enter the atmosphere and react with different gases, and different gases produce different colours. The most common colour is yellowy green which is generated by oxygen at a height of around 60 miles.

Despite being half Danish and spending nearly all my summer holidays, and some winter holidays, in Scandinavia, I’ve still never seen the Aurora, so I think these pictures are absolutely stunning. And it must have been totally jaw-dropping to see it for real so I’m now even more on a mission to go and see them for myself!

Aurora borealis‘ means ‘dawn of the North’ and is named after the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, and the corresponding Aurora in the Southern Hemisphere is called the ‘Aurora australis‘ or ‘dawn of the South’.

I don’t normally post other peoples pictures here but these are so special they have to be shared, so I’m really grateful to Agni for letting me post them. They were taken with a Nikon D3200 on a tripod with a 10s exposure time. And they’re so cool!

18 responses to “Aurora borealis

  1. I’ve been fortunate enough to see several, but they can be extremely elusive and fleeting. I keep hoping for that rare opportunity when everything (including my readiness) comes together!

  2. Thanks for the pictures, I have never seen the Aurora although I would very much like to!

  3. Beautiful images of a phenomenon I think a great many of us have on our wish-lists of sights to see.

  4. What a beautiful sight! It’s interesting that sightings are being made further south these days. I think people in the Midlands could see it recently, if I recall correctly.

  5. Wonderful photos, I can see why you wanted to share them. I’ve only seen the Aurora once, in Iceland, but it was magical. I’d love to see it again.

  6. That top photo is so beautiful. It’s a scene I would like to see for real too.

    • Thanks Vicki, I’m glad you like it. It must be one the most photogenic natural phenomena, but I want to see it for myself to see if a photo really can do it justice.

  7. I hope you get to see an aurora for yourself one of these days. The Latin word aurora is related to the native English words east and Easter, east being the direction from which the dawn comes, and Easter originally being a pagan holiday for the Germanic dawn goddess.

  8. Paul Seligman

    None of the images is visible to me. I can see photos in previous posts, no problem, so these have not been made public in the right way? Perhaps on a disk or server that can’t be generally seen?

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