The Northern Lights

Some Inuit believed that the spirits of their ...

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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.

5 responses to “The Northern Lights

    • It wasn’t very bright when I saw it though I am told it was spectacular last weekend. And yeah, Montana is kinda south. It’s just not the same sky once you dip into the States though there is the same vastness.

  1. What a wonderful thing to get to see!!! I was part of a student exchange to the USSR the year I graduated high school and we were there during White Nights, which was very disconcerting for us … Of course none of us had ever experienced nights when it never gets truly dark. They told us about the Northern Lights as they experience them sometimes, and we all wished we had been there to see that, rather than during a summer heat wave lol.

    • We get a mini-version of white nights in June. I love them but as the kids are still in school, it’s been hard on the wee daughter when the sun doesn’t set until after 11PM and is up again at 3.

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