Δευτέρα, 30 Ιανουαρίου 2012

Solar-Storm-Fueled Auroras Make for Awesome Backyard Photography

Eagle Lights


The sun is waking up. After several quiet years, it bombarded the Earth with two consecutive solar storms this week, which generated many nights of spectacular auroras seen from backyards around the Northern Hemisphere.
A relatively powerful flare burst from the sun’s surface on Jan. 19, throwing off charged particles that reached our planet on Jan. 22. But this was nothing compared to the enormous flare that erupted the next day. The biggest solar flare in six years, this impressive event propelled a gigantic, fast-moving storm that reached Earth on Jan. 24.
The Earth’s magnetic field directs the torrent of charged particles from these storms toward the poles. Interactions with the atmosphere produce the wavering lines of beautiful color known as auroras, or Northern Lights.
Because the sun is now entering a more active part of its solar cycle, the next few months and years are expected to see more frequent solar storms. Just today, it produced an X-class solar flare, the most powerful category of flare. Though this particular one was not directed at Earth, such events can damage satellites and screw up communications on Earth.
Despite these drawbacks, increased solar storms mean more pretty auroras. Here, we indulge in some incredible views taken by ordinary folk of these atmospheric light shows.

 http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2012/01/northern-lights-gallery/?pid=2957&viewall=true
Above:

Eagle Lights

The central light ribbon in this image resembles the head and beak of a bird, flanked by a radiant wingspan. The photo was taken in Grøtfjord, close to Tromsø in northern Noway.
Image: Bjørn Jørgensen

Barn Lights

Barn Lights

Heaven and Earth collide in this photograph, featuring a snow-covered barn in the foreground while Jupiter and the Northern Lights keep watch overhead. Taken in Siilinjarvi, Eastern Finland, Finland.
Image: Janne./Flickr

Glowing Lights

Glowing Lights

A long exposure and dark forest provided this view of the aurora and night sky, captured in Grand Marais, Minnesota.
Image: Stephan Hoglund

Horizon Lights

Horizon Lights

The gauzy Northern Lights brighten the horizon in this photo, while a clear night sky watches over all. Taken near Midmar in Aberdeenshire, Scotland.
Image: Nick Bramhall/Flickr

Big Snow Lights

Big Snow Lights

The aurora erupts from the horizon, lighting up the snow near Mt. Hafnarfjalli in Iceland.
Image: Eyfi M/Flickr


Video Lights

A time-lapse video of the feathery aurora spotted over the forest in Fairbanks, Alaska in the wee hours of Jan. 22.
Video: Micrometeorolgist/Youtube

Distant Lights

Distant Lights

Looking like flashes of lightning on a distant horizon, this aurora was captured at Malin Head, Inishowen, Co Donegal Ireland.
Image: leppre/Flickr

Firework Lights

Firework Lights

A firework burst of auroras appear over the mountains in Tromvik, Troms Fylke, Norway.
Image: LarsT/Flickr

Valley Lights

Valley Lights

The Northern Lights appear as a giant ribbon taking up the sky over a snowy valley in this image, taken in Nuorgam, Lapland, Finland.
Image: K*M*J/Flickr

Sky Lights

Sky Lights

A small ribbon shimmers in the sky above Siilinjarvi, Eastern Finland, Finland.
Image: Janne./Flickr

Yellow and Green Lights

Yellow and Green Lights

Zigzagging bands of yellow and green flow over the landscape in Langfjordbotn, Finmark Fylke, Norway.
Image: The-Dan/Flickr

Feathered Lights

Feathered Lights

A turquoise fire seems to burn in the sky in this photograph, taken in Kiruna, Sweden.
Image: Mattias Forsberg’s (@norrfoto) twitpic

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