Fri 9 Dec 2011
I don’t think you can ever forget the very first time you see something like the Northern Lights.
It was around 10pm and I was just outside of Fairbanks, Alaska, after having been to some hot springs nearby with a good friend of mine and another friend’s mother. Viewing at the springs had been almost impossible due to cloud cover, but somewhere on the hour-long journey home the skies cleared and our own private laser show began.
We pulled to the side of the road, wound down the windows and all stuck our heads out for the next 45 minutes. The fur-tree lined highway was empty bar us, but for the whistle of forest wind you could almost imagine the wrapping and rolling colours were emitting a similar sound. By the time we returned to our hostel in town, the entire crew of guests and staff lay sprawled across the street, heads skyward in wonderment uttering ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ and cooing. So we joined them and walked back to our bunks later on, giddy and high like kids on their last day of school.
If you’ve not been as lucky as I was, these time-lapse sequences of photographs, taken by the crew of expeditions 28 & 29 on board the International Space Station from August to October, 2011, are the next best thing. Taken from an altitude of around 350 km, the original footage itself already has an almost surreal and aestethical visual nature. This verison in in HD and has been refurbished, smoothed, retimed, denoised, deflickered, cut, etc.
It’s incredibly humbling – all credit goes to them.
homepage image credit: NASA