Northern Lights Above Norway
June 04, 2014
The photo above features the scintillating spirals of a green aurora as observed from Andoya Island, Norway. The rock from which these northern lights seem to emanate is called "Bleiksoya" or Bleik island. Green colors occur when charged particles from the Sun (solar wind) excite nitrogen molecules and atoms in the Earth's upper atmosphere -- approximately 60 mi (96 km) above the Earth's surface. Note that the most vibrant colors and eye-catching shapes and patterns typically result from particularly strong solar flares. Bleik Island is acclaimed for having the largest puffin colonies in Norway. Photo taken around 11 p.m. on December 20, 2013.