Watch northern lights dance over Sweden
Solar storms have increased the intensity and frequency of this autumn's aurora borealis displays.
Wed, Nov 13, 2013 at 03:45 PM
A screenshot from astrophotographer Chad Blakley's dazzling time-lapse video of the northern lights over Sweden. (Photo: Chad Blakley)
From the frigid northern edge of Sweden, videographer Chad Blakley has captured amazing footage this fall of the northern lights, which have been stimulated by a recent uptick in solar activity.
Blakley shot his latest time-lapse northern lights video on Nov. 9 from Abisko National Park, which is well inside the Arctic Circle in Lapland, the northernmost province in Sweden.
"The auroras started almost immediately after the sun went down and danced overhead all night long," Blakley told SPACE.com in an email. "It amazes me to think that the lights have been dancing over teepees in Lapland for thousands of years."
Solar storms can send high-speed charged particles crashing into Earth's magnetic field, which sparks the geomagnetic storms responsible for the northern lights, also called the aurora borealis. As the sun heads toward the peak of its 11-year activity cycle, auroral displays have been especially dazzling this fall.
"The solar maximum continues to impress!" Blakley added.
The Nov. 9 footage was just the latest in a recent series of videos from Blakley, as the aurora borealis has been almost a nightly occurrence over the region. He also captured a time-lapse of the northern lights over Lake Torneträsk and Abisko on Nov. 7, with his red headlamp moving across the scene creating a lightning-like effect.
And on Halloween night, Oct. 31, Blakley documented the spooky green lights through the shell of an old teepee.
"It has been an amazing autumn aurora season," Blakley wrote.
The sun has been particularly active in recent weeks, firing off several X-class solar flares, the most powerful kind to blast off our star. On Nov. 5, the sun unleashed an X3.3 flare, the strongest one of the year.
These flares can sometimes cause disturbances to satellites, communications systems and power grids on Earth, but, happily for photographers like Blakley, these eruptions can also boost the intensity of the northern lights.
You can watch more aurora footage at Blakley's Vimeo site.
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