The Sky Is on Fire! Your Complete Visual Guide to the Northern Lights

By Rebecca J. Rosen


Over the past week, Norway has been witness to some jaw-dropping light shows, the result of an M8.7 class flare and a coronal mass ejection in a direction pointed toward Earth. Many Norwegians shared their photos of the northern lights -- or "nordlys" in Norwegian -- on Flickr, where we reached out to them for permission to republish them here, in the gallery above. Through Flickr, we can see halfway across the world, to the skies above Trondheim and across Norway.

One of the photographers, Bjørnar Eilertsen, also compiled his pictures into this beautiful timelapse video:

Here's a video by Norwegian multimedia journalist Per Byhring explaining how solar weather creates the light displays we see here on Earth.

And finally, in the video below, The Atlantic's video editor, Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von Baldegg, has compiled NASA footage of the solar storms responsible for all the beauty.



Update January 27, 11:16 AM: One of the photographers featured above has shared with us a fascinating description of how "aurora hunters" capture these images. Check it out here.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2012/01/the-sky-is-on-fire-your-complete-visual-guide-to-the-northern-lights/252086/