Stunning aurora glows over Iceland after the “dead” sunspot erupts.
A sunspot that “awakened from the dead” last week and exploded with a medium-sized solar flare, along with a mass emission of plasma, also illuminated the northern skies with sparkling lights. A stunning image of the effect showed the aurora appearing to be raining in the clouds over Iceland.
The rays of this aurora shone near Goðafoss waterfall, which is about 45 minutes from Akureyri, Iceland’s second largest city.
“The window of nighttime darkness is rapidly shrinking here at 65.7 degrees north latitude, just 60 miles south of the Arctic Circle, which makes the aurora show much more valuable,” he told SpaceWeather.com photographer Todd Salat, of AuroraHunter.com.
“Soon, the summer sunlight will make it too difficult to see the lights until the fall,” Salat continued. Even a near-full moon was competing for bright space here, but these Icelandic auroras would not have been denied. “
The brilliant Northern Lights were generated by a moderate-sized solar storm associated with an explosion of solar particles witnessed by satellites. The sunspot that exploded was poetically nicknamed “dead” because it had recently erupted and had become part of a quiet sunspot. Even so, while those solar particles interacted with the lines of the Earth’s magnetic field, the air molecules high up in the atmosphere were excited, producing the incredible spectacle of the sky.
Related: NASA has decided to launch 2 rockets into the Northern Lights
On Facebook, Salat told viewers that this was the first time he had seen auroras of this magnitude during a planned two-week trip to Iceland from his hometown of Anchorage, Alaska. It was Salat’s ninth night in Iceland and before that he had only seen glimpses of the Northern Lights. Then the weather forecast changed.
“I left the field early in the day in light rain and the forecast was of clouds and showers scattered all over Iceland for the whole week. I told myself not to take that forecast to heart because it may [be] so demoralizing, “Salat said.
While tempted to “put away the aurora cameras”, he came across the waterfall on a trip. He was taking some test shots when he noticed a glow in the clouds.
“I picked up the pace and when I saw a peak develop, I sprinted across the board until my lungs burned to put myself in position for this composition. Boom, 11:47 pm, possibly the best shot of the dawn. of the journey up to that point went into the game bag and I was delighted “.
Salat saw the clouds temporarily seal off his view, but at around 2am local time they briefly reopened, allowing him to take a few more shots.
“I’ve been on many aurora hunts in my life, but I don’t know if I’ve ever ‘worked’ as hard to get the shots as I did for these,” he continued on Facebook. “That’s 3,336 miles [5,369 km] from my home in Anchorage, Alaska and living in an RV. I’m glad it’s not forever, but I love it and rejoice to live in the present. Time to hit the road and see what’s around the next corner. “
Article originally published on LiveScience.