aurora – a dream come true

One day, the sun burped. It was just what I had hoped for! We were visiting Finland, far enough north that the collision between the solar particles travelling at a high speed towards us and our shield against such burps, the magnetosphere, could give birth to something beautiful.

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Aurora borealis, also known as the northern lights.

A couple of weeks ago, we were visiting family and friends in Ostrobothnia, western Finland. We had already decided to go to our summer cottage over the weekend when we heard that the sun was quite active. I was cautiously hoping that I’d get to see a spectacular light show in one of my favourite places, and that I’d manage to inaugurate my new camera by getting my first ever aurora photos.

We had dinner and sat reading by the fire as it grew darker and darker. Starting at around 11pm we went out every now and then to have a look at the northern sky. It wasn’t until a bit after midnight that I thought I saw a vague, green shimmer above the forest. I called for my partner to come out, too, and we decided that yes, it was definitely aurora that we saw. I find just seeing the aurora to be a very exciting event in itself, because I love the myths and the science behind it – we did hope it’d get a bit stronger, though, because at that point, it was impossible to get a good photo. And we did get what we asked for.

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What a strange thing it must’ve been to see this, for those who lived before we knew what it was and where it came from. Now we do know, and it’s still intriguing and incredible. 

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The Finnish name for the northern lights is revontuli, which means the fox’s fire. It comes from the old belief that as fire foxes, mythical and very valuable creatures, ran on the fells in Lapland, they emitted light and sparks, especially when their fur touched trees or each other. What we saw looked more like a bird, though, in my opinion.

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Green and red greetings from the sun.

It was more than I dared hope for. The lights started fading off again around 2am, and that’s when we went to bed, dreaming of multi-coloured curtains of light, covering the sky.

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Our tiny little place in the big universe.

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11 thoughts on “aurora – a dream come true

  1. Awesome! Still hoping to see this live one day. I did recently finally find some footage showing the movement of the aurora in *real-time*, instead of time-lapse. I have been wanting to know for a long time what it actually looks like, how fast or slow it moves etc. (http://vimeo.com/85070976)

    • It’s hard to get a feeling for what it’s like live from photos and from time-lapse. The photos I took were basically all taken for 30 seconds – so it’s not exactly what you see with your naked eye. Not that that was unimpressive, either… 🙂 Very nice video!

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