Saturday, June 17, 2017

Northern Lights Double Header

Conditions Right
Now We Wait

As we continued our journey, day 6, north along coastal Norway on Hurtigruten MS Vesterålen, the sky was crystal clear and the temperatures were cold - perfect conditions for Northern Lights to appear in our path.

We learned the night before that you need to be ready, because the Northern Lights will appear all of a sudden and if you don't want to miss a minute of the action, time is of the essence.

After dinner we'd retired to the lounge for some coffee, tea, and conversation. Our camera was mounted on the tripod and warm clothes were laid out on the bed. Once the crew would make an announcement, we could run back to our cabin, get dressed and go.

It turns out we didn't have to wait long - the Northern Lights appeared over our ship around 7:15 PM and for the next two hours they danced their way across the northern skies.   We setup our tripod pointing one direction and all of a sudden someone would gasp and there would be another display somewhere else in the sky.

click images to enlarge  (Click Here for  Albums)

Shows Over - Now for Some Sleep

It had been a long exciting day and now that the Northern Lights show was coming to a close, we headed back to the cabin to settle in for the night.   We did keep our camera gear and clothes ready, just in case.

Inside the cabin there is a switch that you can control whether or not you want to get Northern Lights announcements.   The speaker is on the wall plate, above the table which is between the two fold down beds.  We opted to turn it on to allow announcements.

About 1 AM on day 7, the music played and the announcement followed that northern lights had been sighted.   I didn't budge but my husband, first debated about going, and then decided that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity which couldn't be missed.

He was rewarded by another dazzling dance show in the night sky. This time the show lasted for about 30 minutes.

What Causes Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. Variations in color are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common aurora color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora.

TIP: How to Photograph Northern Lights
Additional photos can be found on our Norway Shutterfly page

Northern Lights 3/1 8:15 PM
Northern Lights 3/2 1AM
Northern Lights 02/29

Click on the image to the right for more Blog posts about this trip.

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