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Monday, December 27, 2010

This Aurora Photo Is the Most Insane I've Ever Seen --- Gizmodo

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This Aurora Photo Is the Most Insane I've Ever Seen

This Aurora Photo Is the Most Insane I've Ever Seen

By far, this is the most spectacular and insane photography of an aurora borealis I've ever seen. When I showed this in our virtual bullpen, the unanimous reaction was complete awe.

Auroras emit light because of the emission of photons by oxygen and nitrogen atoms in the upper atmosphere. Those atoms get excited—or ionized—by the collision with solar wind particles, which are accelerated by the Earth's magnetic field. As the atoms get excited or return to their normal state, they emit visible energy. When it is an oxygen atom, the light emitted is either green or brownish-red, depending on the energy level absorbed by the molecule. Blue happens when nitrogen gets ionized, and red when it returns to ground state.

It was photographed by Ole Christian Salomonsen over Tromsø, Norway, using long exposure. That's why you can see streaks from satellites and an airplane crossing the firmament.

Check the rest of Salomonsen's beautiful photos on his Flickr stream. [Ole Christian Salomonsen via APOD]

Send an email to Jesus Diaz, the author of this post, at jesus@gizmodo.com.

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The paragraph explaining what happens, someone at School asked the teacher what the 'Northernly Lights' are, I wish I explained it to them exactly how it was written there. Too late now, I'm not doing Geography anymore, it was only last Thursday that she asked, and that I left Geography. Reply

Come to AK. This is crap compared to watching a 20km wide ribbon dace across the sky over your head. Reply
mat promoted this comment

@Eric Swenson: You have a camera, get to it. Reply

@Eric Swenson: I lived around Fairbanks for 17 years and never saw anything close to this. Got close though. [picasaweb.google.com] Reply
mat promoted this comment

@mat: Not a full frame with a 16-35 f/2.8 II. Mine actually can't do that. Nice star foolio. Reply

I've only see green when I was living in Alaska, thanks for explaining the color differences. Reply

I grew up in AK. I went to Northern Lights Elementary school. I saw stuff like this every year. I NEVER saw one as cool as this. I wish I knew about long exposure when I was six years old. Reply

Freaking awesome. Looks like the Destiny's FTL.

[waving geek flag high] Reply

Wade McGillis promoted this comment

Wants me a wallpaper size, wallpaper size, wallpaper size..
"Original Resolution: 515 x 800"

@Mailz: Somewhere... out there... is a full resolution file. Find it we must. Reply
Calrekabooki promoted this comment

@Mailz: It's 644x1000 if you click on it.

iPhone 4 wallpaper, here I come! Reply

Ahhh! Glimmers of understanding finally dawn! All that fuss over the 'World's Softest Tissue' is totally warranted!

Forget the lights, I would be happy looking at that star filled sky every night.....damn you eastern seaboard light pollution! Reply
ian.nai promoted this comment

Imagine what cavemen thought gazing up at that. Reply

@FrankenPC: it probably revovled around two words. "holy" and "shit"

also imho you're going way too far back...I think this would have been as impressive to people some 50 to 100 years ago as it would have been to cave men. I say that simply because our capabilities to produce amazing visual affects (as well as the general acceptance that most everything can be broken down scientifically) is such a recent development. Reply

@FrankenPC: I'm pretty sure stuff like this was the reason religion was invented. Reply

You know now that I look at this more closely I'm starting to see a dress. At the top of the aurora there is the hourglass shape of a womens torso and the bottom part is the train of the dress. I love it when I spot unrelated things. Reply

I love this! I've never seen any auroras in person though. Reply

@Aertryn: It's amazing, we had one about this magnitude when I was working last winter, green glow flowing from horizon to horizon faster than any cloud. Safe to say I took a moment to stare... :-) Reply

The picture is great. Though I recall much more spectacular Aurora Borealis scenery in my small hometown in Greenland. I remember almost all the sky covered in incredible northern light. It is especially beautiful/scary when the sky is mostly fire-red and crystal blue. Reply
Jesus Diaz promoted this comment

@thepolarbear: Nothing beats the real thing, I'm sure. Reply

@Jesus Diaz: I can recommend you to see the northern lights with your own eyes. It is always in motion and shifting colors. Reply

@thepolarbear: Yes. This is something everyone should see at least once in their life. Reply

I can see a Syfy movie coming up. Attach of the Aurora Borealis. Reply
junior ghoul promoted this comment

The northern lights are a direct result from coronal mass ejections from the sun actually skewing the polarity of the earths magnetic fields.

The solar storm of 1859 was so immense it altered the magnetic fields to the extend that the northern lights were said to have been seen as low as Europe. This event was also said to have knocked out major electronic devices all over the planet.

A strong enough storm will likely cause a polar switch. Which, is dangerously close to a Cosmic Kansas City Shuffle.

[en.wikipedia.org] Reply

holy holes batman promoted this comment

@typica1cat: "Which, is dangerously close to a Cosmic Kansas City Shuffle. "

Is that anything like the Melbourne shuffle? Reply

@typica1cat: What major electronic devices did they have back in 1859? Except for time machines of course... Reply

@Timmy: I goofed some dates - see last comment. Reply

Aurora Borealis? At this time of year? At this time of day? In this part of the country? Localized entirely within your kitchen? Reply

@Edgy: skINNER! Reply
Edgy promoted this comment

@holy holes batman: Yes, and you call them steamed hams despite the fact they are obviously grilled. Reply

I'm trying to decide between comparing it to the Snow Leopard default desktop, saying it looks shopped, or the obligitory "it's full of stars" reference.

Would any of those get me banned?

The detail in the stars is amazing. FWIW, his setup for this shot was:
Canon 5D Mark II + Canon EF 16-35 Mark II @ f/2.8, ISO2500, 7sec. Reply

Calrekabooki promoted this comment

@Ryan: Meta discussions about which comment to make are probably even funnier than the comments themselves, but thats debatable. Anywho, I liked it! Reply

I will never EVER get tired of looking at pictures like this. Reply

@holy holes batman: Haha! I can't help myself, that was hilarious. Reply

@DoubtedBeef: Was just thinking that exact same thing. Reply
DoubtedBeef promoted this comment

@holy holes batman: I just pooped a little because of the violent laugh I tried to suppress when I saw this. Reply

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