Sunday, October 26, 2014

Aurora Borealis (Northern Lights) Graced the Sky Again

I'm chronicling here a whole day affair that climaxed to a marvelous display of colors and design that painted the night sky. 

The date was October 14, a part of  a bracket of days (from 14-17) when something noteworthy takes place in this stream of season, as based on my observation. 

That morning came the very first snow which became an early announcement of the nearness of winter, though autumn was still in full swing. I was in the middle of my work that time when I glimpsed through the glass walls the falling snowflakes. Something inside me skipped with delight at the sight of snow even though I've experienced this in six years now. This pleasurable feeling hasn't changed at all. The snowfall didn't last long and the flakes melted just as soon as they touched the ground.

In the afternoon, the clouds that had been hovering above us for many days finally parted, then thinned out, revealing the glow of the sinking sun.  

The night set in. I almost forgot that the northern lights would again light up the sky that night as I was engrossed in my online reading. Then I bolted out as soon as the thought popped up, feeling a hint of apprehension that the lights must have been over by that time. I scanned the sky for signs of the aurora, but this massive cloud met my eyes. 

When it faded, a pale green pillar of light flickered diagonally in its place. That commenced the unfolding of what was going to be the most vibrant and spectacular aurora borealis that I have ever seen.

All the shapes that moved or danced across the different sections of the sky were so beautiful that I didn't know where to look. They all danced at the same time. My camera (take note: a mere compact camera) mounted on the tripod and set at a 30-sec exposure couldn't catch up with the graceful movements of the light so that I've missed capturing some of the best parts of the show, though I have watched them all.  I only managed to shoot these:

Then I took chances to snap a few shots with my old mini compact Nikon camera without a tripod. One can see how luminous the lights had been that even this simple camera could capture them clearly, though the pictures came out grainy and blurry.

I stayed in our backyard watching the whole show until the last flicker subsided. The frosty grass crunched under my feet as I paced here and there in search of a better place to shoot. 

In the following mosaic, the lights were beginning to fade away. The first one reveals the Auriga constellation above the light, and  the second shows the Ursa Major. In the third photo, I was unaware that the lens of my camera had become thick with mist, and this misty effect of the image came out.

Then the Big Dipper in Ursa Major conquered the sky.

I don't need to describe my deepest emotions this time. I have written about them for umpteen times now, including here in this blog: Another Dance With Aurora. But for sure, I had a strong hangover the day after and for some more days.

What I want to stress at this time, though, is the physical benefit that the northern lights can give us. They are actually a manifestation that we are being protected from the harmful effects of "radiation emanating from the solar flares and explosions  in the outer regions of the sun." Expanded explanation can be read in paragraph 7 of this article:  Creation Reveals the Living God 

Isn't it heartening to know that we have an all-powerful, wise and loving Creator and Almighty God who protects us in marvelous and colorful ways in the form of the northern lights? It's also good to know that he, like all of us, has a personal name that we can use when we speak to him and express our gratitude for his loving-kindness.

"May people know that you, whose name is Jehovah,
You alone are the most high over all the earth."
- Psalm 83:18

"I am Jehovah. That is my name;
I give my glory to no one else,
Nor my praise to graven images."
- Isaiah 42:8

How pleasant it is to address the Giver of the northern lights by his personal name whenever I thank him for his generosity and loving care!

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