On Tuesday (7th Nov 2017), residents of Stockholm were invited to watch a free, spectacular show —— the display of aurora borealis in the sky.
It was 11.30 pm and I was about to check my phone the last time before going to bed. To my surprise, there are 50+ unread messages in FB group telling me the same thing: “Aurora alert high” + “Lappis beach” = “Let’s run!”.
Fortunately I didn’t lose my sanity completely; I still remembered to grab my warmest coat before I rushed.
There are a few groups of people along the beach already. Above them, a light green shade of “clouds” were forming and de-forming. I called them “clouds” because they were not beams of light; but their texture were more ethereal and amorphous:
There is an explosion on the local students residence’s FB groups with many beautiful aurora photos uploaded by students:
But for those who arrived late, it is not as lucky:
According to our Instagram curator Namaskar this week, a dim realm of aurora was visible even in the most central part of Stockholm:
Already getting excited about the show? I prepare some common F&Qs about aurora:
Q1: How frequently can aurora be observed in Stockholm?
Aurora whose intensity is visible to eyes are relatively rare, mostly due to interference by urban lighting. It is very common that we waited for a few hours before midnight under aurora alert, but didn’t see anything (happened three times to a friend of mine)
Q2: Does Aurora appear in the winter only?
Aurora is a phenomenon of charged particles in the atmosphere, that takes place throughout the entire year. In summer, its presence is blocked because the sun doesn’t “set”. For this reason, October to early April in the next year is the best time for viewing Aurora, because nights are dark enough.
Q3: Is there anyway that I can trace the Northern Light?
Websites such as http://www.aurora-service.eu offer fair forecast of aurora. This time, I am thankful to the “manual” aurora alert from my classmates!
Q4: Where is the best place for viewing aurora?
The ease to observe aurora decreases along the curved lines from Kp 0 to Kpn 8. This article gives good reasoning why Sweden is probably one of the best places to enjoy an aurora show: routesnorth.com/things-to-do-in-sweden/seeing-the-northern-lights-in-sweden/
Now, it is your turn: all you need is patience!
Last but not least, I would like to thank my friend Xueqing Wang who generously allows me to use her beautiful photos; and the lappis people who share their work on the FB page!