We extended our long weekend at the cottage until this morning, and it was a good thing. Last night my daughter, my partner and I witnessed the most spectacular aurora borealis disply I have seen in years. This is one advantage of a north-facing dock: that we could sit in relative comfort and observe eerie sheets of light rolling across the sky. The Big Dipper appears in the left half of the sky in this 30-second time exposure. In fact, most of the constellation of Ursa Major, the Great Bear, is clearly visible. The dock is a great place to brush up on astronomy.
I probably need not bother to explain what causes the Northern Lights. The sun has entered a period of increasing sunspot activity, so the solar wind will carry more charged particles, which cause the display. Expect more shows like this for the next while.
I like to think of the aurora as love poems from the sun, attracted to and set aglow by the Earth’s magnetism. On certain dark nights this erotic exchange cannot be hidden even from limited creatures like ourselves. Such beauty is difficult to put into words.