Northern Lights over the Norwegian Sea

November 24, 2021


Photographer: Tomas Slovinsky

Summary Author: Tomas Slovinsky; Cadan Cummings

One of my biggest dreams- even before I became an astronomy popularizer and photographer- was to see the northern lights. The picture above was taken near Tromsø, Norway in October 2021. These spectacular displays- also called the aurora borealis in the northern hemisphere and aurora australis in the southern hemisphere- are the result of energetic particles emitted by the Sun colliding with the Earth’s magnetic field and atmosphere. Our planet’s magnetic field protects us from most of these energetic particles, however, the magnetic shield converges at the north and south poles and lets some of this energy hit the Earth’s atmosphere. Once interacting with our outer atmosphere, these particles collide with oxygen to create green and red light.

Thanks to my friends, this dream of seeing the northern lights in person came true. Our polar trip headed first to Sweden, but our first days were mostly hopeless as the weather in Abisko was cloudy and snowy. Decision then was one and only - to get a trip much north, in Tromsø, Norway. The experience was magnified when I finally met legendary Adrien Mauduit, a great astrophotographer and cinematographer. He was the one who kept me, Petr Horálek, Josef Kujal and Balazs Szarka in hope for hours before the aurora truly appeared. Adrien told us "Just wait, it is about to come - something amazing" and I had never been so grateful as when I finally saw he was right. The dynamics, intensity, colors visible even by the moonlight made this one of my lifetime experiences so far. If you like the image, trust me that the personal experience is far better! Hopefully not my last, I am sure I want to see it again. This is one of moments you know it was worth to live for!

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