Northern Lights and Polar Bear

February 15, 2015

Canada space weather 4

Canada space weather 5 (1)

Photographer: Phillip Halper
Summary Author: Phillip Halper
The photos above were taken on an expedition to view wild polar bears in Churchill, Manitoba, Canada. Churchill also happens to be a great spot for viewing auroras since it's often under the prime auroral oval. It lies 1,663 mi (2,676 km) due south of the North Magnetic Pole. However, in October, when I visited, the cloud cover tends to be quite high so our expectations were low for a wondrous light show. But on the night of October 16 (2014), I ventured out after dinner and detected a faint green glow on the northern horizon. A little while later this aurora deepened and migrated south. Suddenly, I was under the corona, engulfed in one of nature’s most breathtaking displays. As this space storm died down a bit, a polar bear wandered in, perhaps less excited about the northern lights than in a midnight snack. Flying home to England a few days later I made sure I got a window seat facing north just in case luck was on my side -- it was!