Gorgeous aurora borealis photos from last week's solar storms (more on the way tonight!)

[Photograph courtesy Shawn Malone, LakeSuperiorPhoto.com]

Via the BB Submitterator, Chris Combs says:

Following up on a previous Boing Boing post: last week, our sun's hot plasma shot a billion tons of energetic particles towards Earth, which led to some amazing aurora borealis. I was thrilled to see a fine batch of northern lights photos on Flickr, and even more excited that their creators gave us permission to run them on National Geographic News. And—there could be more coming tonight, thanks to a Saturday solar flare! Enjoy!
Pictures: Huge Solar Storm Triggers Unusual Auroras (news.nationalgeographic.com)


  1. Stunning. I can’t imagine what it must be like to experience that in real life, big as the sky as opposed to the size of my computer screen.

  2. I was in Iceland in ’84; they covered 270 degrees of the sky, full-color spectrum and I swear they made a noise.

    Most incredible thing I’ve seen in my 52 years on this Earth.

  3. Very nice – but I don’t see any way to save nice high-resolution versions for use as wallpaper.

    1. Hey, sorry, we don’t do wallpapers on NG News. There are lots of legal clearance issues with making photographs into wallpapers, believe it or not.

      But you can see some of the same photos on Flickr, possibly in higher resolution: http://bit.ly/czQ7gv

      Of course, make sure you’re not abusing the copyright (and trust) of the photographers…

  4. I saw displays that rivaled these when I lived in Fairbanks. I never heard a sound, though. That’s just what you tell the cheechakos for lulz.

  5. BlackPanda not able to log in:

    I’m on a bunch of email warning lists, so i get heads-up whenever the Sun is being a bit of a bell-end and this sort of thing is likely to happen.

    The last time this went down, I was living in Wales, and I spent my entire phone credit warning everybody I knew, including my astronomy lecturer (being on a degree course at the time) of the likely low-latitude aurora, before I somehow managed to completely forget about it, and go play GTA: San Andreas with my flatmate, accompanied by a couple of bongs… I distinctly remember it being the Area 69 level where you had to steal the jetpack.

    Of course, everybody else besides me saw bright green curtains across the sky.

    This time, it was just as pretty. Had good reports from my crew in Glasgow and Cardiff, so I’m happy.

    This phenomenon has become something of a personal obsession of mine, even though I’ve yet to see it up close, myself.

  6. Unfortunately I’m too far north to see the aurora–here in the Yukon it still doesn’t get quite dark at night, so when the last CME hit last week, we went out at 2am and could only see the faintest green glow of the aurora over the remaining sunlight.

    I’ll also note that the picture may not have actually appeared quite so beautiful to the naked eye. Through the magic of long exposure, a camera can capture a lot more than the eye can see. For example, this picture (nowhere near as spectacular as the one above) was taken on a night when I only saw the faintest green glow that I could barely make out.

  7. Can it be seen from tronto(GTA)?I was pay attention to night sky in past few days and didn’t spot anything similar to this. May be those pesky lights from buildings obliterate it.

  8. I have a question- for anyone who has actually seen the northern lights- I’ve seen them in numerous tv shows but have to wonder if the shots I see on tv are time lapse- or do the light patterns REALLY move that fast?

    Amazing photo!


  9. Aye, Larry7, I have seen them move a variety of speeds: from nearly static glows, through the speeds you see on TV shows, to literally 10Hz hair-raising pulsing across the entire sky.

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