On the coldest night of 2021, I receive a red alert issued by AuroraWatch.ca at 11:10 pm MST on February 6. It was about a seventy percent possibility of seeing the northern lights until the dawn of February 7. Yes, it’s short notice. As if this was not enough, Paddy Larson sent me a text at 12:17 am and Felix Reichel at 12:22 am. The text read: the northern lights are out tonight. But I slept early to be fresh for the next day’s Sunday Service. Alas, I missed the alert; I never read the text.
Best time to see the Northern Lights
The coldest nights are not a factor that the northern lights will be visible. It can happen any time of the year, regardless of the temperature. The sun is the source for the appearance of the northern lights. However, autumn can be the best time to see the celestial display of colors, like the equinoxes in the months of March and September, as the Earth’s tilt allows these lights to be seen more clearly. You can see Northern lights (aka Aurora Borealis) when the solar particles penetrate the Earth’s magnetic field. Imagine the Sun shedding off extra light particles (coronal mass ejection – that’s the technical name) that pass from the north to the south pole.
How did I get the alert of the magnificent phenomenon?
I have been voicing my desire to see the Aurora Borealis. I told people to call me anytime they spot the northern lights in the sky be it even past midnight. I even made a pulpit announcement—somethings work when the time is right, and the wait was worth the effort.
Thanks for the call of Paddy Larson at 12:21 am, informing me about the northern lights dancing on the horizon. I hopped out of my bed, dressed to brace forty below zero Celsius. Paddy volunteered to join and click my picture with the northern lights. Always great to have company.
This was the second time Paddy had alerted me about the northern lights. The first time, I ventured out alone – drove outside the town to watch it.
And I was on the road, driving out of the town, away from streetlight into relatively dark areas to enjoy the spectacle. Now, my wait to experience the wonder is over, yet the excitement always remains.
You can depend on Aurora Watch App
I know it’s challenging to tell others to phone even at midnight if they sight the northern lights. Then, Ken Dies informed me about a website: Aurora Watch which will send alerts about the northern lights after you register with your email. I signed up after my first unforgettable experience. The site does a decent job, although it is just a prediction. But I would always love a phone call at night about the lights playing in the sky because my phone is set on a ‘do not disturb’ mode at night.
The Northern Lights leave an impact of awe on the viewer. People told me that the ‘brighter the lights, the louder the sound one hears.’ I see people who chase the northern lights, capture great pictures. I even read about it; the lights make the ground look emerald green. I wish to see the lights for a different reason: enjoy nature’s majestic nature and thank the creator for His wonder. Just being out below an illumined and animated night sky is a feeling that cannot be replicated or captured on a camera.
Camera tricks to capture the sky wonder
Yes, I did not use DSLR Camera. The iPhone is still slow to capture colors. The DSLR “captures the emerald green,” as Paddy Larson says. Ken Dies told me to shut off the camera mirror. I have yet to figure it out. I hope to try, maybe watch a YouTube video and learn how to get it right with the big camera.
What can I suggest? If you can go away from polluted areas and avoid the street lights, the display tends to be even more beautiful out in the countryside where it is dark. If you stay in the country, it will be a delight to watch the Aurora Borealis.
Three days ago, I again received AuroraWatch red alert issued at 3:10 am MST, valid until dawn. Who checks an email while sleeping? Had I checked it, I would have been out experiencing yet another spectacle of nature’s grandeur. It’s always a delight.
Something for you …
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