Good news! This week, folks living in as far north as Michigan may get treated to a stunning light show as Auroras will be shining brighter and further away from the planet’s axis than usual. What a rare treat! The bad news: the same phenomenon that causes the Northern Lights to do their thing could also screw with a few important technologies that we rely on, every day.
According to Seeker.com, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration has stated that charged solar particles, the result of a ‘moderate’ solar flare barfed out of the Sun on February 12 could cause minor fluctuations in power grids and have an impact on communications with satellites that are currently orbiting the earth. In her story on the issue, Seeker’s Elizabeth Howell took the time to explain how the particles are created:
Solar flares and particle ejections are associated with sunspots — dark areas on the sun's surface — that host intense magnetic activity. As the magnetic fields in a sunspot cross, NASA stated, this can cause a sudden energy explosion, also known as a solar flare. This sends radiation out into space.
Sometimes these explosions can also send off charged particles, which are called coronal mass ejections or CMEs. "CMEs are huge bubbles of radiation and particles from the sun," NASA stated. "They explode into space at very high speed when the sun's magnetic field lines suddenly organize."
These bubbles of radiation generally bop off into space, away from the earth. But not this week. Read the rest “Expect Northern Lights and power grid fluctuations this week”
Aryeh Nirenberg captured a remarkable sight for the rest of us to enjoy while on vacation: the northern lights as they appeared from a plane window on New Year's Eve. Better than any fireworks! Read the rest “Passenger shoots northern lights timelapse on a flight to Iceland”
When Adrien Mauduit moved to Denmark, locals said it was rare to see the Northern Lights. This gorgeous 4K timelapse proves them wrong in spectacular fashion. Read the rest “Danish Northern lights timelapse: at the edge of the solar storm”
Back in 2012, I wrote about 'Magnetic Reconnection', a beautiful, haunting experimental film about the aurora borealis, scored by Jim O'Rourke (Sonic Youth, Wilco) and narrated by Will Oldham (Matewan, Old Joy). Read the rest “WATCH: documentary featuring some of the best aurora borealis footage ever captured”
A gorgeous Northern Lights video by Markus Kiili from Ylläs, Lapland, Finland in September, 2015.
Read the rest “Dazzling video of Northern Lights in Finland, Fall 2015”
This video is so beautiful. Crank the resolution way up to 4K and enjoy.
How do you know that you just experienced a more-impressive-than-average display of the Northern Lights? When somebody can take a picture like the one above in freaking Arkansas. Arkansas, people.
Photographed by Brian Emfinger in Ozark, Arkansas, these auroras were triggered by a big coronal mass ejection—a burst of energy from the Sun that can interact with our atmosphere to produce particularly spectacular examples of the aurora borealis. I missed the light show last night, but Spaceweather.com has a collection of photos taken around the world, from Michigan to Norway. Read the rest “The Northern Lights meet the Mason-Dixon”