Marja-Leena Rathje
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Aurora Borealis

Yesterday I read on Amy's blog Ever so Humble about the current solar storms taking place (lots of great links here!). Tom Montag writes about seeing the Northern Lights in Wisconsin USA - quite far south, I thought.

Now today I see Helsingin Sanomat's article: 'Exceptional solar activity produces Northern Lights further south than usual'. See the photo of a corona as you read this article, and some good links explaining the aurora borealis along with some beautiful photos. Don't miss Pekka Parvianen's photos (bottom of page) taken in April 2000 of a most extraordinary one in southwest Finland.

I've seen these lights in southern Manitoba, and across the Canadian prairies, but they were the best and most frequent in northeast British Columbia. Seeing auroras always makes me feel that I am experiencing something mystical, awe-inspiring and very other-worldly. Can you imagine what prehistoric people must have felt? "Folklore abounds with explanations of the origins of the spellbinding celestial lights. In Finnish they are called 'revontulet', which means 'fox fires', a name derived from an ancient fable of the arctic fox starting fires or spraying up snow with its brush-like tail. No matter that in English 'foxfire' is a luminescent glow emitted by certain types of fungi growing on rotten wood."

Report a sighting and enter your photos in a contest, at Nordlys and check out the Auroral Mythology page.

Update: More photos at the Aurora Gallery

Marja-Leena | 09/11/2004 | 3 comments
themes: Folk Legends & Myths, Photography


Marja-Leena--seeing the northern lights IS a mystical experience, whether you're pre-historic man or a dumb ol' Wisconsin poet. You stand with your mouth open and don't know what to say, at least I do! Thanks for the links.

Fox fires... love that!

I was driving home from a concert in Boston one October night a few years ago, sleepy at 1 a.m., gazing at the sky north of me open above I-95, thinking, "The lights are still on in the city." But, wait, they're green. And yellow. And changing. And... there is no city north of Boston with light like this. Northern Lights, woohoo!!

Thanks Tom & Amy! Our most memorable sighting occurred the night of our wedding as we were driving east from Winnipeg to the Lake of the Woods for our honeymoon. The wide open prairie sky was ablaze with the shape-shifting, glowing green and ghostly streaks. We thought it was a good omen for a long and happy marriage!