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Watching the Northern Lights

A Chance to see the Northern Lights

Have you ever seen the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis? They are supposed to be beautiful and enchanting!

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If you are like me, and have never seen them, but would love to, this might be your lucky day!
(That is, if you live in the Netherlands)

Solar flares
Last Tuesday and Wednesday big solar flares were spotted on the sun. Those flares are responsible for increased amounts of radiation emitting from the sun.

Don’t worry, the harmful part of the radiation cannot pass through the earth’s atmosphere, so for us humans, there is no cause for alarm. It might affect GPS and mobile phone signals though, so if your reception is slightly less than normal over the next couple of days, this is probably why.

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How the Northern Lights are induced
What the electrically charged particles do cause, is the mysterious phenomenon of the Northern Lights! When reaching the atmosphere of the earth, the charged particles collide with other molecules and thereby transmit energy. This energy transmission induces the coloured lights that can be seen from the ground.

Myths and Legends
Even in old times, people have always been fascinated with the eerie lights, moving in the sky. The old Vikings believed it to be dancing maidens, where the Scots made their own version of that, calling them the “Merry Dancers”. Finnish people said it was a fox who caused the coloured skies, while the Saami thought the moving lights to be the souls of the departed. Lots of other beliefs have been around, but they all included some fear, or at least some respect for the lights. In Saami culture, for example, when the Northern Lights were seen, people were to behave solemnly and kids should quiet down and show their respect for the fires. I think it’s a beautiful thought, those dancing lights are the perfect reason for a little mindfulness.

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How and where to watch this weekend
All myths and old beliefs aside, the Northern Lights are beautiful as they are! If you would like to see them this weekend, it is best to go to a place as far north and as dark as possible. So try to escape the city (and the greenhouses) and find a nice quiet place. A clear sky is also rather essential, but so far the weather forecast is positive about that.

Update: According to poollicht.info, friday has a moderate chance at seeing the Northern Lights, while Saturday the chances of seeing them are quite big.

And if the lights won’t show…
…then that’s really no big deal, right? Just take a picnic basket, some blankets, and you will have a lovely time watching the night skies anyway!

Good luck and enjoy!

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(Images from visitnorway.com)

 

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