The Northern Lights
Have you ever seen the Northern Lights? A friend of mine downloaded an app, forecasting favourable times of seeing the aurora borealis. He is now (possibly whilst you read this) happily driving around the countryside into the late hours of night/ hunting for gloriously coloured skies and posting photographs of his successes on social media sites. Frankly, his photographs are sickeningly good.
Years ago my husband and I stood in our garden like a pair of meerkats watching the skies. Beginning to feel a little self-conscious, we were about to go inside when the skies flashed green and pink, the colours ‘jumped’, they ‘fluctuated’ and then clear skies returned. And that was that. We had seen the Northern Lights and I can tell you it was pretty strange although truly magnificent.
Although the colours themselves are obviously impressive, I think the allure of the lights has more to do with how they make us feel rather than the actual sighting of them.
It all comes down to scale. It is difficult not to feel small when you think about the energies and solar activities involved. The distance itself is awe-inspiring. Ninety-three million miles away our sun pumps a massive amount of electromagnetic matter into space. (Electromagnetic matter is what we know as Solar Wind. A much more romantic and catchy name.) When the Solar Wind comes towards earth and its particles collide with the air molecules in the earth’s atmosphere the energy is transferred into light; which we see as the Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis. A natural light show that I think is worth the loss of a few hours sleep to see.
So, here I am. I’ve downloaded the app, filled my tea flask and I’m looking north on a dark and clear night. I’m just hoping that maybe whilst I’m looking up at the skies I bump into my mate doing the same thing because I think we’re in for a long night. I hope he brings biscuits.
If you fancy going out to hunt down the Northern Lights or find out a little more about them, then here are a couple of links which you may find useful: