It’s not easy to see auroras in the middle of the day when the sky is suffused with sunlight. Yet that is exactly what happened to Marjan Spijkers on Dec. 1st when he looked up at noon and saw the Northern Lights:
“I took this picture from Svalbard, a group of isles about 1300 km south of the North Pole,” says Spijkers. “The famous polar night has started here, which means that the sun stays below the horizon 24 hours a day, and it is dark enough to see Lady Aurora around the clock.”
Although it is technically “night,” the noontime sky in Svalbard still contains some blue, framing auroras in a rare palette of daytime hues.
Svalbard, known as “the island of polar bears” because of its large population of Ursus maritimus, is one of the few inhabited places in the world where this can be seen.
There’s something else unusual about these auroras: They are caused by solar particles entering our atmosphere from the dayside of the magnetosphere. Most aurora watchers get only the nightside mix.
Is there a difference? There are too few sightings to know. Daytime auroras are that rare.
Hey friends, it’s time to wake up!
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