WE FINALLY SAW THE NORTHERN LIGHTS!
A few weeks ago there was a large solar flare which caused enough magnetic activity for the aurora to be seen in Stavanger. This has happened many times since we moved here, but for various reasons we always seem to miss it. To get the perfect combination of a powerful magnetic storm with a cloudless night, without a full moon, when we were actually available to leave the house and stay up all hours of the night was starting to seem like an impossible feat. We thought this storm was going to be another missed opportunity because we can’t exactly leave the house in the wee hours of the morning to go aurora hunting when we have a little one fast asleep. Normally there is too much light pollution to see it from our neighborhood and we’d need to head for a much darker location, which just isn’t feasible these days.
Around 1am that night though (please don’t ask why we were still up. “Sleep when the baby sleeps” doesn’t always work out. We make poor decisions, ok?) Facebook lit up with pictures and reports of aurora sightings all over the place. I was freaking out a little bit because a friend of ours posted a great photo of the lights from the beach just south of us so Chris suggested he stay with Lily so I could go see them. I grabbed the camera and tripod and jumped in the car feeling horribly guilty and second guessing my choice to go because I REALLY wanted to experience our first aurora sighting as a couple, but I also REALLY wanted to see them and who knows when we would have been able to leave together in the middle of the night now that kids are in the picture.
I got in the car and backed out of the driveway. As I was pulling out, I saw something weird in the sky through the windshield. It took half a second, but then I realized what it was and SLAMMED on the brakes and leapt out of the car, dashing back into the house shout-whispering (because, you know, baby), “Chris! Chris! Chris! Get your shoes on and come outside NOW!”
It must have been a powerful magnetic storm because we could see the aurora clearly right out in front of our house even with the neighborhood streetlights! It was ridiculously cool! Granted, it wasn’t the crazy bright aurora that you see in photos and videos from much farther north, but it was clearly visible and at times we could even see it dancing! From what we’ve read you don’t get much better than that this far south in view of city lights!
We watched it for a good hour and Chris, being the pro photographer he is, captured these photos with a 2 minute exposure. They will forever be some of my most treasured pictures of the two of us. I’m beyond thrilled that we got to experience it together after all!