Solar Maximum.

For years and years (no, really… since I was about 12 years old and read about in a book) I have wanted to see the northern lights.
I mean, take a moment, and check this video out!

Aurora Borealis timelapse HD – Tromsø 2010 from Tor Even Mathisen on Vimeo.

How can you not be moved by that??!!!!

Anyway, I guess I am just dreaming out loud that I might get a chance since I am now on a hunk of dirt that goes far enough north that I could drive up there and see (and photograph!!) it myself.

So what am I waiting for?
Two things.
1. Solar Maximum.
The northern (and southern) lights are driven by solar partials smacking into the upper atmosphere. In a nut shell, they are a lighting storm in space.
Well, to have the storm, you need the sun to be spewing out its partials, to do that, you need sunspots. The sun has an 11 year cycle that it goes through, at the top of the cycle, you get lots of sun spots, lots of particles, and thus lots of light shows. At the moment, we are coming out of the minim, so there are a few shows, but nothing like we are going to have over the coming years.
2. Since I want to drive up, I need some time and money to make it happen. Since I have a few years to wait, I can see how my dream pans out.

Oh, so if you want to track the solar cycle, you can, just click on the ‘weather-astro‘ link on my menu, the graph is at the bottom of the page.