Tag Archives: Aurora

Behold: a spectacular view from the International Space Station of an aurora generously slathered like salsa verde onto the Earth’s thermosphere just before midsummer 2017. To wit:

About 400 kilometres (250 miles) above Earth, the orbiting station is itself within the upper realm of the auroral displays. Aurorae have the signature colours of excited molecules and atoms at the low densities found at extreme altitudes. Emission from atomic oxygen dominates this view. The tantalizing glow is green at lower altitudes, but rarer reddish bands extend above the space station’s horizon. The orbital scene was captured while passing over a point south and east of Australia, with stars above the horizon at the right belonging to the constellation Canis Major, Orion’s big dog. Sirius, alpha star of Canis Major, is the brightest star near the Earth’s limb.

(Image: Jack Fischer, Expedition 52, NASA)

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Not a celestial ad for Mickey D’s, just a rare conjunction of two familiar arcs in Scandinavia’s night sky. To wit:

Perhaps the more familiar one, on the left, is the central band of our Milky Way Galaxy. This grand disk of stars and nebulas here appears to encircle much of the southern sky. Visible below the stellar arch is the rusty-orange planet Mars and the extended Andromeda galaxy. For a few minutes during this cold arctic night, a second giant arch appeared to the right, encircling part of the northern sky: an aurora. Auroras are much closer than stars as they are composed of glowing air high in Earth’s atmosphere. Visible outside the green auroral arch is the group of stars popularly known as the Big Dipper. The featured digital composite of 18 images was captured in mid-December over the Lofoten Islands in Norway.

(Image: Giulio Cobianchi)

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THESE are Northern Lights.

A spectacular aurora captured outside Östersund in Sweden in 2016. To wit:

Six photographic fields were merged to create the featured panorama spanning almost 180 degrees. Particularly striking aspects of this aurora include its sweeping arc-like shape and its stark definition. Lake Storsjön is seen in the foreground, while several familiar constellations and the star Polaris are visible through the aurora, far in the background. Coincidently, the aurora appears to avoid the Moon visible on the lower left. The aurora appeared a day after a large hole opened in the Sun’s corona allowing particularly energetic particles to flow out into the Solar System. The green colour of the aurora is caused by oxygen atoms recombining with ambient electrons high in the Earth’s atmosphere.

(Image: Göran Strand)

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An apparently ghostly aurora recorded over northern Canada back in 2013. To wit:

Regardless of fantastical pareidolic interpretations, the pictured aurora had a typical green colour and was surely caused by the scientifically commonplace action of high energy particles from space interacting with oxygen in Earth’s upper atmosphere. In the image foreground, at the bottom, is a frozen Alexandra Falls, while evergreen trees cross the middle.

(Image: Yuichi Takasaka, TWAN)

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Lough Corrib, Co. Galway last night.

Photographer Gavin Kelly writes:

“What was interesting is the creatures were certainly restless. There was lots of hooting and hollering. Some incredibly strange noises.”

Gavin Kelly (Facebook)

Meanwhile, in Kerry last night…

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Caroline Flynn tweetz:

Yay, the Aurora made it to Kerry tonight :)

And in Donegal…

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Pajo tweetz:

Aurora over Ramelton in Donegal tonight. Great to see it back!

And in Monasterboice, Co. Louth…

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Shane Murphy writes:

I sent a text to my friend & neighbour Trine to see if she could see the lights from her north facing back garden & low & behold, she could. We stayed there taking photos & watching the celestial green glow for over an hour. It’s the first time Trine has seen the northern lights outside the country of her birth [Norway].

Thanks MGrey

Meanwhile, this morning in Malahide…

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Thanks Alex Connolly

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Meanwhile, from Dundalk, Co. Louth last night…

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Thanks Yohan Riou

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Filmed in mid-March.

Photographer Noel Keating writes:

Slieve League – the highest sea cliffs in Europe, located on the north west coast of Ireland in the county of Donegal… possible the most magical place in Ireland to try and capture the Aurora.. I often imagined what the Aurora would look like in this location, but never expected to see it this strong..

Thanks Aoife Hegarty