gillybirds

What came first- the chickens or the blog?

Northern Lights!

on September 12, 2014

It has long been an ambition of mine to see the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis, with my own two eyes.
The aftermath of a large solar storm last week is just reaching our small blue and green planet, giving rise to the promise of some spectacular aurora activity, visible even to us here in the north of Ireland.
And for once, these past few nights the sky has been relatively clear of clouds.
I’ve been checking Twitter for updates from all the weather and astronomical authorities, and running upstairs to hang out the attic window looking north with hope in my heart for a sighting.
This is Early September, I naively thought the aurora were only seen in winter time. It’s so exciting!
Tonight Mr G indulged me by driving out of the city, away from the light pollution and up into the dark hills above us. Down a narrow country road we drove, no street lights, no nearby houses, just blackness. We turned off the headlight and got out of the car. It was very, very dark. Gillyboy number 2 came with us and helpfully found north on his iPhone compass, so we all peeled our eyes hoping for a glimpse of green flares, or a red glow, or anything at all. Until we realised that the compass was affected by the magnetic catch on his phone case and we were looking the wrong way.
As our eyes grew accustomed to the blackness, shapes in the field next to us became apparent. We counted one, then two, then four ponies. Then as hill fog rolled creepily towards us, there was the sound of galloping hooves. I almost expected to see the headless horseman hurtling over the hill top. It was just another curious horse, wondering what three townies were doing out in the dark, and looking for a handful of verge grass.
After about ten minutes fruitless sky watching, and remembering Mr G is more than a little allergic to horses, we headed home.
(GB2 pointed out there were quite a few parked cars along the dark country roads. Im not sure the occupants were that interested in catching the Northern Lights, we drove quickly on….)
But the night is young. I’m getting very fit running up the stairs to peek at the horizon every so often. You just never know.
In the meantime here is a photo taken about 70 miles from our coop door last night which was published in our local paper.the Belfast Telegraph Sensational!

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If you live anywhere within the green ring on this image, I hope you managed to catch some of the light show!

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I long to see something like this. It’s from the Visit Finland website. Wow.

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3 responses to “Northern Lights!

  1. I toyed with taking the postal boat in Norway to get the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights a couple of years ago when I was in Europe. But it was pretty expensive, no guarantee and not much else I wanted to do mid-winter in Norway so I went to Malta instead. I kind of regret it. But on my flight home to Australia I looked out the aeroplane window and saw them – the horizon was raining green. It was amazing. Not as great as being below that rain but still pretty cool.

    I hope you manage to see your lights from your window!

  2. Elinor Fitch says:

    I wondered if you knew about it. I have always wanted to see it too. I read in the paper it would be seen about midnight so perhaps you were a bit early. Elinor

    Sent from my iPad

    >

  3. Gillybirds says:

    We have friends who went specially to Iceland on holiday twice to see them. And didn’t . Twice. Ugh.

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