Jan 25, 2012
I’ve not yet seen the Aurora borealis, nor the Aurora australis, but they’re always on my mind. I am sure they’re amaaazing and wunderfuuul. This week a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the Sun stimulated the earth’s atmosphere and magnetic field to produce some marvellous lights that were even seen as far south as Northern England. There are plenty of photos on the web now and video footage is growing. Amateur astronomers have been gripped by the aurorae, apparently as have amateur astrologers looking for aura…
The aurorae are a natural light show in the sky, most commonly seen at high latitudes (Arctic and Antarctic). They are caused by the collision of energetic charged particles from the sun (the solar wind) at high altitudes (thermosphere). The northern lights are named for the Roman goddess of the dawn, Aurora, and the Greek name for the north wind, Boreas, after Pierre Gassendi, 1621.
“The northern lights are in my mind, They guide me back to you” – Renaissance
Photo: US Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joshua Strang. Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, Aurora Borealis glowing above Bear Lake.