Pictures courtesy of Eirik Evjen via the BBC.
A photographer in Norway has captured the Northern Lights through time lapse photography. For those of you who have never seen the celestial spectacle, and those of you who have, here is a time lapse treat. BBC is carrying the footage and the background on this piece:
This phenomenon reflects violent eruptions on the sun. Some suspect an eclipse and solar weather (December 29-31 - summarized here, and in early January here, here: "As expected, a solar wind stream hit Earth's magnetic field during the early hours of Jan. 7th. The impact sparked a G1-class (Kp=5) geomagnetic storm and bright auroras around the Arctic Circle") may have affected Earth's magnetic fields and possibly contributed to the mass deaths of fish and birds, which I blogged about here and which is apparently continuing, even though media interest has died down. Several media reports state that mass bird and fish kills are normal. The conspiracy theorists of course think otherwise (as here). All of these theories should be taken with a grain of salt.A photographer has managed to capture the Northern Lights phenomenon in Northern Norway, after he decided to place his camera on top of a mountain to shoot a time lapse of the sky. Eirik Evjen who lives in Lofoten, took the pictures on Friday and was amazed by the results. "It was very cold outside so I had to wrap the camera in the warm clothes I was wearing," he said. "I got a real surprise when I picked up the camera eight hours later."
Huge solar storm, 28 January 2011. Image Source: MSNBC.
Caption for the above photo: A spectacular double eruption on the sun was captured today [January 28] by NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory. The eruptions happened nearly simultaneously on opposite sides of the solar disk, SpaceWeather.com reported. The plasma clouds produced by the event are expected to miss Earth, so there's no threat to us or to satellites orbiting the planet.
On the lower left in this image of the sun, a magnetic filament erupted, and on the upper right a departing sunspot produced the strongest solar flare of the year so far, an M1-class event. The double whammy may be more than a mere coincidence: Recent research suggests that solar activity is interconnected by magnetism over large distances, and that solar storms can go global.
ADDENDUM: NASA reported here on an enormous coronal hole in the Sun from February 1-3.
The effects reached Earth on February 2-4.
Massive Coronal Hole in the Sun, 1-3 February 2011. Image Source: NASA.
Caption from NASA for the above photograph: A coronal hole, stretching across the top half of the Sun, rotated into a position where it was facing Earth (Feb. 1 -3, 2011). Coronal holes are magnetically open regions on the Sun that stream high-speed solar wind into space. In these images taken by SDO in extreme ultraviolet light, the unevenly shaped hole appears quite dark. As the coronal hole passed the meridian line, the path of its streaming particles began to be aimed at Earth. There should be a good chance for aurora sightings beginning Feb. 4.
For my earlier post on time lapse photography, go here.