The sun, on August 1, 2010 NASA/Corbis
There was considerable excitement in North America, with the news that on the night of August 3, 2010, an unusual set of sun storms might make the Aurora Borealis or Northern Lights, visible as far south as the 49th parallel, the latitude that forms much of the border between the US and Canada. There were multiple news articles in both Canadian and American papers online, suggesting people try taking a look into the night sky in the hopes that it would be clear enough, and this natural fireworks spectacular could be glimpsed by people who usually only see it in pictures. Many articles included explanations, the best I found being in Boston.com, here, and The Globe and Mail, here, as well as Wikipedia, here.
From the Globe and Mail based on University of Alberta and University of Alaska sources
A brief, interesting, and easy explanation of the Aurora Borealis from NASA
Pictures of some previous manifestations follow.
Aurora Borealis, Alberta
Aurora, Borealis, Alaska
Aurora Borealis, near Anchorage Alaska
Aurora Borealis, near Abisko Sweden
Purple polar Aurora Borealis
Aurora Borealis, Scandinavia, Photo Craig M. Groshek
Just about the time I started wondering whether there were "Southern Lights" from the South Pole, I discovered, yes there are, the "Aurora Australis".
Aurora Australis captured by NASA's IMAGE satellite
and overlaid onto NASA's satellite-based Blue Marble image
Aurora Australis, Kangaroo Island, Australia, NOAA
Indeed, aurorae can occur on other planets in the solar system too, as in the examples from Saturn and Jupiter below:
Aurora on the far north end of Saturn
I enjoy these phenomena for the esthetics, and for the sense that nature, and the universe, bind us all together.
And what did I see? I didn't look...I only found out about it this morning! :(
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Did you see the Aurora Borealis on August 3, 2010?
Have you seen it or the Aurora Australis on other occasions?
Any other comments, thoughts, impressions, or experiences?