This is just totally awesome. Hit the full screen button on the final video below for full effect.
Terje Sogjerd is a landscape photographer. He shot 22,000 photos of the recent Northern Lights (aka: Aurora borealis), near Kirkenes (far Northern Norway). It was a little cold out. Check out his tale on his facebook page.
I may be a card-carrying scientist, but I know very little about this stuff. Check the wiki page link to what causes Aurora's. Among other things, solar flares can send a particle cloud in our direction. Apparently large flares only occur every few years. There was a particularly big one on Valentines day.
NASA happend to record it.
Here is another clip from a different flare, just to give you an appreciation of the violence involved.
When a particle stream hits the atmosphere, nitrogen and oxygen are ionized, and they emit photons as they return to ground state. The ionization occurs as the solar wind particles collide as they are accelerated along the Earth's magnetic field. Emissions from oxygen are green or brown-ish red, and they are blue or red from nitrogen. The colors vary with altitude. The upshot of the phenomena is that while the Earth is continually in the path of the solar wind, flares and coronal ejections send a particularly intense barrage. An aurora is best seen from within a ring, just within the Arctic and Antarctic circles, due to the proximity of the magnetic poles.
With this in mind, Terje therefore went out in the cold, with his camera and a programmable dolly (6 ft track), and assembled this unbelievable footage. Enjoy.
The Aurora from Terje Sorgjerd on Vimeo.
*Nothing To Do With Fatherhood