Night 10, Aurora Borealis

Since arriving here at Esrange the Stratos team has been waiting for the chance to launch the Stratos rocket, and it looks like that chance will finally come this Friday or Saturday. But there was one other thing that we also had been waiting for: the chance to see Aurora Borealis, the Northern Lights. The weather had been mostly cloudy so everytime we went outside to try to see it the only thing that could be seen was a bright moon. Then yesterday evening during a team meeting someone came in and told us to go outside. So we broke up the meeting and quickly went outside. At first only a faint green glow could be seen. When we walked away from the lights of the base the glow became a bit brighter, but then after a couple minutes it disappeared almost completely. Not yet discouraged we walked further away from the base and the glow started coming back. We saw a green glowing belt right above us that slowly started to grow brighter. Then suddenly it became really bright and started moving as if it was blowing in the wind. Part of it was green and some other parts were more pink and it was waving like a flag. Describing the Northern Lights with words is something for which a poetic talent is needed, which I do not possess, so I won’t try any further. There are lots of beautiful pictures of the Northern Lights, but they cannot convey the majesty of seeing it actually moving in the sky. Seeing the Northern Lights is definitely something to try before you die. As is seeing a rocket launch of course, but more on that in the coming days.

One Response

  1. Chris Verhoeven says:

    After some moments of utter depression I came to the following conclusions,

    1: The greenhouses in the Westland produce a beautiful aurora on the clouds around Delft that can reliably be enjoyed every evening.
    2: It is perfectly possible to turn around your car 180 degrees unsing the handbrake on the parkinglot of the TU-Delft, you don’t need snow to do that.
    3: Beer is cheaper in Delft

    so I must be very happy here.

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