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Northern lights as you have (probably) never seen them before

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


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Chances are, unless you’ve been lucky enough to see them in person, you will have seen the northern lights in a time lapse video online. But have you ever seen them just as they would play out in real life?

Kai-Marius Pedersen is a northern lights hunter who records videos of real time aurora. No distracting music, no montages containing weeks worth of images in a few minutes. This is his first real time aurora video from a few months ago:

And his second is even more spectacular:

I have a lot of time for polished videos and grand effects, but sometimes it’s nice to get as close to the real thing as possible.

Note: The featured image for this post is a view of the northern lights from the International Space Station. A real view that you’ve almost certainly never seen before…

(via @cosmos4u)

Kelly Oakes About the Author: Kelly Oakes has a master's in science communication and a physics degree, both from Imperial College London. Now she spends her days writing about science. Follow on Twitter @kahoakes.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





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  1. 1. tala1 4:04 pm 03/12/2013

    headed for the NW territories in the next yr or so. Nice to see exactly what I could actually see.

    - dave

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  2. 2. Kelly Oakes in reply to Kelly Oakes 4:20 pm 03/12/2013

    Good luck, dave! I was in Iceland a month ago and saw them – nowhere near as bright or lively as this, but being there in person made up for that.

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  3. 3. christinaak 5:23 pm 03/14/2013

    I have seen the northern lights several times when I lived in Valdez, Alaska and a few times in Fairbanks. I have never seen a more beautiful sight in my entire life. It is the one thing I miss most since leaving Alaska in 1999.

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  4. 4. Quinn the Eskimo 12:54 am 04/15/2013

    I spent a year on St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. I watched with fascination as these lights danced above my head so close, you could almost reach out and touch them. Amazing they made no sound. Back in ’69. I miss that part of the experience.

    Link to this

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