Northern Lights Over Svalbard

November 25, 2019

Aurora Boreal Svalbard 02

Photographer: Cindy Mariela Lorenzo
Summary Authors: Cindy Mariela Lorenzo; Jim Foster

The enchanting aurora shown above was observed from Longyearbyen, Svalbard, one of the most remote places in the Northern Hemisphere. When this photo was captured, on November 12, the Sun remains below the horizon all day in the high Arctic. However, around solar noon, it resides just below the horizon -- less than 6 degrees below the southern horizon. Note the relatively bright sky over the mountain tops at lower right. This is considered civil twilight; the sky is still bright enough, for about an hour on November 12, to still read a newspaper.

By mid-November, even at mid-day, the Sun is more than 6 degrees below the horizon. This is considered nautical twilight; the time when it’s no longer bright enough to read the paper but it’s dark enough see the bright stars -- 1st and 2nd magnitude stars. Thus, it’s sufficiently bright to navigate at sea by the stars.