Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Aurora Borealis

Growing up in Canada there were times in late fall and winter when the aurora borealis paid a visit—those colorful and ethereal filmy veils that trail across the sky when conditions are just right. Reportedly they are caused by cosmic rays, solar wind, and magnetospheric plasma interacting with the upper atmosphere. Oxygen and nitrogen molecules play in there somewhere. I think of the aurora as the midnight sun’s polar opposite (not only in terms of the calendar but in terms of temperature readings, as well). The Meteorological Institute in Tromso, Norway, offers a 20-minute documentary at the Northern Lights Observatory. The movie, the brain-child of a couple dedicated photographers, represents seven months of time and hundreds of hours of winter sky-watching. Their hundreds of thousands of photographs have been condensed into the world’s first 360-degree high resolution movie of the Aurora Borealis or Northern lights. If you are able to give your brain a ‘travel treat,’ this movie is a must, at least in in my book. You might want to check Wikipedia for a picture of the aurora over Calgary, my birth city.

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