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Up, up, and aurora!

11 Oct 2012, 19:01 UTC
Up, up, and aurora! Stephane Guisard
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Stéphane Guisard is a photographer who lives in Chile and takes phenomenal shots of the night sky – I’ve featured his work many times here on the BABlog (see Related Posts at the bottom of this article for much more).
He recently decided to take a long, long trek – he traveled from his home in Chile to the aurora haven of Yellowknife, Canada. Why? Did I mention that Yellowknife is a haven for aurorae?
And while there, on September 30, he saw this:

Wow! [Click to enemissionate.]
This shot has three things in it I just love. One is, duh, the aurora itself. Charged particles from the solar wind are caught by the Earth’s magnetic field, and are funneled down into the Earth’s atmosphere at high latitudes (that is, near the poles). They slam into the air, dumping energy into the atoms and molecules in the upper atmosphere, which respond by glowing with various colors. The green and red colors are due to oxygen and nitrogen.
I also love the reflection in the lake. It’s not something you think about much in pictures of aurorae, but to me it magnifies ...

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