The days are rapidly getting shorter. Geographically the sun should disappear on November 22. But because of the mountains, the sun disappears a few days earlier. Geographically the sun reappears the February 6., but again because of the mountains the actual observation of the sun is a few days later.
In between these dates it is dark here. Around Christmas it is just a faint dusky light around noon, the rest of the 22 hours of the day it is dark. Pitch dark – as in the middle of the night. It is the dark season. But this time of year makes it even more cozy with lights, especially candle lights. AND it is the season of Northern Lights! During summer, the midnight sun lights up the sky day and night, thus drowning the faint light from the Northern Light. In the winter-time it is the other way around!
Even now the sun is setting early. This photo of reflections in the snow-covered mountains from sunset was taken 15:58 today.
This is taken the same evening (October 14. 2012) as the previous photo. Here the Northern Light is somewhat stronger. This view is towards the South and the previous photo is taken towards the North.
Quiet – but it’s there
It’s been very, very quiet on the Northern Lights front. The particle flow is very good. Now, I am not a physicist – but I have a fair share of knowledge in the field, having studied it and been a happy member of the Physics Club at The University of Tromsø (The Northern Lights Capital of Norway – a really fun city with lots of things to explore – I highly recommend it). In my humble opinion when the Solar Wind is at low speeds (right now ~500 km/s) – as it is right now, and the Geomagnetic Field component is neutral and the Dynamic pressure is low – even with a quite strong stream of charged particles from the Sun – all we get here is a “vail” of Northern Lights, but things changes fast. Sudden Solar Prominences can quickly change the conditions for Northern Lights.
2013 – A peak year
The solar activity in terms of Solar Prominences (also known as protuberanses) varies. These are known as Solar Cycles (or Magnetic Activity Cycles). They peak about every 11. year. 2013 is an estimated new peak. In correlations with this heightened activity, solar observatories register a rise in Sun Spots.
The photo below is taken in Ankenes the 15. – which was a pretty good day for shooting, but this faint “vail” captivated me enough to develop.