Northern Lights

The Northern Lights (aka the aurora borealis) were visible in much of the United Kingdom on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th May 2024. Of course, a clear dark sky and minimal light pollution were necessary for a good display. Our son sent this photograph from near Bicester ...

Photo 1: Northern Lights from near Bicester (10/5/24)

... while our daughter-in-law sent this picture from Leek, Derbyshire ...

Photo 2: Northern Lights from Leek, Derbyshire (10/5/24)

See here for an explanation of the different colours (tl;dr ionization of gas molecules by solar particles).

Sod's Law (aka Murphy' Law) states that if something can go wrong, it will. Its corollary (Finagles' Law) states that if something is going to go wrong, it will happen at the worst possible time. Sure enough, in spite of clear skies during the day in Hereford, the clouds gathered during the evening. Consequently, the Northern Lights were a no show from our Hereford home (light pollution may have played a part too). 

I did manage to create our own version of the Northern Lights using a conveniently situated street lamp ...

Photo 3: "Aurora Borealis" Hereford-style

We may have a repeat performance in about two weeks. This BBC article gives a good simplified explanation of the aurora phenomenon and also explains some of the downsides (e.g. its effect on global communications, internet, GPS, etc).


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