Icelandic Aurora

October 17, 2012

Photographer: Eva Seidenfaden   
Summary Authors: Eva Seidenfaden; Jim Foster

The photo above showing the dazzling northern lights as observed from Reykjavik, Iceland was captured on September 19, 2012. This beautiful green aurora, resembling a treble clef, is seemingly emanating from Reykjavik's concert hall Harpa (at bottom center). It erupted during a substorm. Auroral substorms are typically confined to polar areas where they persist for hours, not a day or more as do geomagnetic storms. Resulting from brief disturbances in the Earth’s magnetosphere, these storms may be identified by abrupt brightening and movement of auroral arcs and streamers. This display began not long after sunset and lasted for several hours. Auroras can take on myriad shapes. The same aurora will, of course, look quite different when viewed on the horizon compared to when it’s viewed directly overhead.

Photo Details: Olympus OMD E-M5 digital camera; 8 seconds exposure; 400 ISO; f/3.2; processed with Adobe Photoshop.