|As a part of my trip to Norway I
was hoping to knock off one of my
bucket list items – seeing the Northern Lights. Despite living in
northern parts of the US for almost 30 years I never saw anything that
came close to the typical Alaska pictures. To me the northern
if I saw them at all, were at something that looked like light
pollution on the horizon. My dilemma is easily understood with an
understanding of what they are.
The Aurora is caused by ejections from the sun hitting the magnetic fields around the earth. At the poles these particles follow the magnetic lines to the upper atmosphere. The gases in the upper atmosphere glow just as in a fluorescent blub.
The Aurora is a band circling the north (and south) Geomagnetic poles. The Geomagnetic pole is in northern Canada, which displaces the aurora toward the US. As you can see Cleveland and Boston are far from this circle.
For this trip I was going to be in the prime Aurora zone. While Svalbard was slightly north of the normal circle, the aurora should be visible in the southern sky. Coastal Norway was directly in the path of the Aurora. The only thing we needed there was clear skies and an active sun.