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In the Land of the Northern Lights

Seeing the Northern (or Southern) Lights is one of the most amazing experiences you'll ever had. Here's a beautiful timelapse that shows you what the folks in the polar regions see all the time.

Have you ever seen an aurora?
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Helen Read's profile photoGiovanni Bordiga's profile photoFS Sajjadi's profile photo
 
I have seen the Northern Lights several times, from my own yard in northern Vermont (just about 45 N latitude). Two of my friends and I have an agreement to call each other at any hour of the day or night if the Lights are on. The first thing one does after picking up the phone is swear at the caller for waking you up :-). Then, you put a warm jacket on over your pajamas and drag yourself outside in the freezing cold and stand outside watching the display for as long as it lasts. Somehow I never think to drag a chair outside.

The best time ever was maybe 8 or 10 years ago, at a decent hour in the evening. On my way home from work, I got off the interstate and took a back way home, and as soon as I got off the main road, I could see bright red beams of light in the sky, unlike any northern lights I have seen before, and it took my brain a moment to process what was happening. Usually it's faint green shimmery curtains, but this was like giant, bright, beams of light; picture enormous phaser beams from the Enterprise. My musician friends were coming over for quartets that evening, and when they got to my house I was just standing outside gaping at the aurora, which extended from the northern horizon to the zenith. We stayed out to watch for probably 45 minutes to an hour -- the longest I have ever seen them last -- and finally went in to play our horns. We went back out to check again a while later, and poof, all gone, and we were so glad we had stayed outside and watched when we did. It was absolutely the Best. Northern. Lights. Ever. I haven't seen anything like it before or since. Haven't seen any from my house in ages, actually.
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