Watch Fast and Furious All-sky Aurora Filmed in Real Time

If seeing the Northern or Southern Lights hasn’t been crossed off your bucket list yet, this video is the next best thing to seeing the aurora live. Astrophotographer extraordinaire Thierry Legault has captured spectacular views of the Aurora Borealis from Norway, filmed in real time.

“I was in Norway in early November,” Thierry told Universe Today, “this was my 5th stay and really the best one, with incredible auroras. At moments they were so large and fast that we didn’t know where to look.” He added they were “totally hypnotic.”

The 16-minute video includes 6 of the best sequences Legault captured. “I included the start and finish of the sequences to show their behavior to people who have never witnessed them,” he said. “The auroras seem to be alive, sometimes like snakes or rivers.”

Legault used a Sony Alpha 7s, which he says is the only camera able to record video like this in such lighting. The video is recorded at 25 frames a second.

For the best view of the video, switch to full HD mode (1080p) and full screen.

Legault has been going to Norway annually to see the aurora. Here are the views he captured last year.

See more of Legault’s work at his website. He has technical pages there with advice for capturing the night sky. He provides more details and tips in his excellent book, Astrophotography.

Watch the Northern Lights Dance and Shimmer in “Silent Storms”

Aurorae were once believed to be warring clans of spirit soldiers, the skyward ghosts of virgin women, or the glow of fires burning inside celestial caves. Today we know they’re caused by ions in the atmosphere getting zapped by charged solar particles caught up in Earth’s magnetic field. But the knowledge of what creates aurorae doesn’t make their shimmering dance any less beautiful for those lucky enough to see them. I’ve personally never witnessed an aurora, but photographer Ole Salomonsen has — and he’s created yet another gorgeous time-lapse of the northern lights over his native Scandinavia to share their beauty with the world.

Continue reading “Watch the Northern Lights Dance and Shimmer in “Silent Storms””

Fires in the Sky: Aurorae and Meteor Photo by Ole Salomonsen

A bright fireball slashes through curtains of aurorae shimmering above the mountains of northern Norway, captured on camera by Ole C. Salomonsen in the early hours of September 20.

Salomonsen, a master at photographing the Northern Lights, says this was the biggest fireball he’s ever caught on camera.

“The fireball lasted for about 6-7 seconds until it vanished behind the mountain,” Ole recalls. “By the way, this mountain is over 1350 meters (4440 feet) high, and I am standing only 600 meters from the foot of it, so do not be fooled by the 14mm wide angle lens! There was some very distinguished blue colors surrounding the fireballs edges. Never ever seen anything big like this!”

The mountain at right is called “Otertinden”, and is about a 90 minute drive north of Tromsø, Norway — a hot spot for stunning auroral displays.

And if you’re wondering if the aurorae and the meteor are really in the same region of the atmosphere, well, they likely are. Incoming meteoroids begin to glow at around 70 to 100 km up, which is also about the same altitude that aurorae are visible.

Although Ole stated that this wasn’t the best aurora photo from the shoot, the fireball and its reflection in the still river made him feel this one “deserved to go first.”

The photo was taken with a Canon EOS 1D-X and a Nikon 14-24mm lens.

See more of Ole’s work on his website, www.arcticlightphoto.no, and you can like his page on Facebook here. (Also he’s got a couple of great time-lapse videos too!)

Image © Ole C. Salomonsen. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Grab a seat for the Celestial Lights show!


Painstakingly assembled from over 150,000 digital photos taken over the course of eight months, this stunning time-lapse video of aurora-filled Arctic skies is the latest creation by photo/video artist Ole C. Salomonsen. Take a moment, turn up the sound, sit back and enjoy the show!

This is Ole’s second video project. The footage was shot on location in parts of Norway, Finland and Sweden from September 2011 to April 2012, and shows the glorious effects that the Sun’s increasing activity has had on our planet’s upper atmosphere.

Ole writes on his Vimeo page:

The video is a merge of two parts; the first part contains some more wild and aggressive auroras, as well as a few Milky Way sequences, hence either auroras are moving fast because they are or they are fast due to motion of the Milky Way / stars. Still, some of the straight-up shots are very close to real-time speed — although auroras mostly are slower, she can also be FAST!

The second part has some more slow and majestic auroras, where I have focused more on composition and foreground. The music should give you a clear indication of where you are.

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The music was provided by Norwegian composer Kai-Anders Ryan.

Ole’s “hectic” aurora season is coming to a close now that the Sun is rising above the horizon in the Arctic Circle, and he figured that it was a good time to release the video. It will also be available on 4K Digital Cinema on request.

“Hope you like the video, and that you by watching it are able to understand my fascination and awe for this beautiful celestial phenomenon,” says Ole.

You can follow Ole’s work on Facebook at facebook.com/arcticlightphoto, and check out his website here.

Video © Ole C. Salomonsen. Music by Kai-Anders Ryan.

Valuable Space Rock Crashes Into Oslo Cabin

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A family in Oslo got a surprise when they visited their allotment garden cabin for the first time this season and found that a 585-gram (20 oz.) meteorite had ripped a hole through the roof. The space rock was discovered “lying five or six metres away,” the cabin’s owner, Rune Thomassen, told the local newspaper VG.

Such an event is rare in Norway; since 1848 the country has noted only 14 meteorite discoveries.

Astrophysicist Knut Jørgen Røed Ødegaard from the University of Oslo investigated the report and found it to be genuine.

“You can tell immediately that it’s genuine from the burned crust, and you can also recognize it from how rough and unusual it is. It gives me goosebumps,” Ødegaard told VG.

NASA Astrobiology Institute’s Hans Amundsen noted the meteorite’s unusual composition: “This is a very rare meteorite because you can see from the cut of it that it contains fragments from many different kinds of rock that have cemented together, forming a so-called breccia.”

Such meteorites are caused by previous collisions, cementing together different types of material from impacts with asteroids or planets.This means the meteorite that landed on the Thomassens’ cabin may very well have been blown off the surface of Mars at some point in the distant past!

“This is unique. This is double-unique,” Ødegaard noted to VG.

According to Amundsen, such a meteorite is very valuable to researchers as well as private collectors, who may be willing to pay highly for it. Chunks of Mars have fetched USD $877 per gram in the past… making the Thomassens’ find potentially worth over $500,000!

Norway’s geological museum has the country’s only meteorite collection “and they’re the right ones to determine what kind of meteorite this is,” Amundsen said.

Read more on this story here, and see coverage with photos and video on the VG site here (in Norwegian).

The Meteor and the Nordlys

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A meteor slices through the glow of the northern lights (or “Nordlys”) in this photo by Adon Buckley, taken near the border of Norway and Finland on the night of October 19, 2011.

“The weather was against us, it was raining heavily in the northern Norwegian town of Tromsø,” Adon describes on his Flickr page. “We drove for 2 hours and waited on the Norwegian/Finish border for 3 more and this was at the start of the show on October 19th.”

He adds, “I actually missed the shooting star when it happened, but my friend told me and I was eager to check the exposure when I got home.”

Great catch, Adon! And a wonderful photo as well.

See more of Adon’s photos on his Flickr photostream here.

Image © Adon Buckley. Used with permission.