The Northern Lights


Some Inuit believed that the spirits of their ...

Image via Wikipedia

I hadn’t seen the Northern Lights once since moving to Canada four years ago. Scientific explanation for their absence from the night sky centered around the lack of activity on the surface of the sun. Despite looking quite active, the sun’s surface has been cooler in the past few years, fewer flares and no sun spots. This has some sort of dampening effect on the phenomena known as the aurora borealis.

But last night as I was finishing up in the downstairs bathroom, Rob called for me to come upstairs quick.

Northern Lights!

According to him, they were not very impressive last night. He’s seen better and much like my take on the bison in Yellowstone this summer, he’s not that awed because they are a fixture in his life. They have always been.

I was pretty impressed though with my “northern exposure” moment.

The sky here fascinates me generally. The way the clouds stack up so close to the horizon they seem within grasp and the way the sky curves to meet the distant edge of the earth. Sometimes, it’s almost claustrophobic, the sky seems to loom so close.

Northern Lights are mainly a winter phenomena. Their sudden appearance this last week does not bode well for a lengthy fall season, which is a bit depressing given the fact that the last of Edmonton’s snow from this last winter has only just melted away.

But it was awesome to see the lights snake across the dark expanse last night.