Friday, December 15, 2006


Northern lights alert

The skies over Ottawa may or may not be clear over the next couple of nights, but at least it will be mild. That will make it a lot more comfortable for me as I stand out on the back deck, scanning the skies for the northern lights.

According to this article from CTV.com, a significant solar flare will be rushing past the Earth over the next little while. The plasma wave surrounds the Earth and when it collides with the gases in our atmosphere, the collision results in energy being emitted as photons which cause the aurora borealis - the famous and unforgettable northern lights.

Have you ever seen them? I clearly remember my first time. I was driving from Ottawa to Sudbury one Christmas - maybe 1990 or so - with my ex-husband and his brother. It was brutally, bitterly cold and we nearly froze to death standing on the side of the highway where we had pulled over to admire the display. I've seen them a half a dozen or so times since then, but never have I seen dancing curtains of multicoloured light like that first time.

According to this observers' page, last night's display was seen well into the US. If it's clear where you are tonight, it may well be worth taking the occasional peek outside to check for the northern lights!