Aurora Royal HB.indd

Personal stories of the most beautiful natural event on the planet

Since writing my book on the aurora, several people have written to me or come to speak to me at events to tell me their own stories of the aurora. It is such a beautiful, emotive topic, so I’ve started this collection of Aurora Stories so we can all share the magic of the aurora.

Please write to me to share yours and subscribe for updates!

What is the aurora?

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Interview with Live Aurora Network co-founder Steve Collins

Live Aurora Network aurora northern lights

Steve co-founded the Live Aurora Network because after too many cold nights in remote Scandinavian fields with no aurora they realised there must be a better way. We asked Steve five questions….

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A Visual Orchestra in the Sky

David Saul Fineberg Tromso, northern lights

David Saul Fineberg wrote the poem “A Visual Orchestra in the Sky” just after his return from Tromsø, where he experienced the northern lights in all their glory.

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Northern lights recommendations from a seasoned aurora hunter

Aurora Troms county Norway 2019

We spoke to keen amateur astronomer Simon Harding about his spectacular northern lights experiences and asked him for recommendations for other people in search of the northern lights.

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Can you see the aurora in Italy?

Northern Lights in Iceland shot with 24mm F1.4 camera, Photo: Steve Collins

Can you see the aurora in Italy? Find out how the seemingly impossible can happen.

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When is the season for the northern lights?

Winter aurora. Photo: The Aurora Zone, Antti Pietikainen

When is northern lights season? And how does the experience change as the season progresses? We help you plan your perfect aurora trip.

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Aurora in Yellowknife

Aurora in Yellowknife by Martin Izzard

Aurora hunter Martin Izzard shares a new northern lights experience, this time in Yellowknife, Canada, where he took aurora photos and captured the “Merry Dancers” on video.

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Top places for a New Years Eve aurora break

Forget the fireworks at New Year. Instead, head north for a different kind of spectacular light show! Here are our top picks for a European New Years Eve getaway.

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Where to see the Northern Lights

Wild aurora in northern Norway.

Seeing the Northern Lights is high up on many people’s travel wish list, but it can be an elusive occurrence. Enter the Live Aurora Network!

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How to film the aurora

Filming the Aurora

Would you like to know how to film the aurora? Follow these top three tips on how to best capture the northern lights on camera to record the dance of the northern lights yourself.

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Best place and time to see the aurora?

What is the best place and time to see the aurora?
I get asked this question a lot, and there’s no simple answer. But in what follows I give you some things to think about.

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Icehotel & aurora with Mum

I was working on a short trip to Sweden with Discover the World and this time I took my mother along for her first taste of the Arctic. She loved it!

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Aboriginal Sky Stories

Big Warrambool - the Milky Way in Aboriginal culture

Would it be possible to see the aurora during a solar eclipse? And has it happened in the past? The answer is maybe. It’s not impossible, but it would be a very rare occurrence.

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If Van Gogh painted aurora

Val Fulford, an artist for the film Loving Vincent, shares her thoughts on painting the aurora in Van Gogh’s style.

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Aurora at Bamburgh Castle

Moya Gracie shares her story of New Year in Northumberland.

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Emerald Freeways

A poem by Hamilton Lund, inspired by his trip to Blachford Lake Lodge in February 2017 with the Cloud Appreciation Society.

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My Great American Eclipse

A total solar eclipse is a wonder to witness. Here’s my story of the eclipse in America on 21st August and some thoughts on whether or not to photograph.

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Eclipses & Aurora

Like the northern lights, eclipses have been viewed since ancient times, often with a mixture of fear and awe. We all have a connection to the Sun; our planet too.

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Tales of an aurora addict 3

Aurora addict Rosie Thompson continues her aurora story with a new trip in February 2017. Snowstorms, IceHotel and Goddess Aurora!

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Who was Kristian Birkeland?

This week is the 100th anniversary of Kristian Birkeland’s death, and people are celebrating his life and work. But who was Kristian Birkeland?

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Southern lights spectacular

A good geomagnetic storm at the weekend gave particularly good sightings of the southern lights in New Zealand and Tasmania. Ian Griffin shares his pictures of the aurora australis.

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Auroral substorms & Alaska

Aurora appears over the University of Alaska, Fairbanks. Courtesy of Taro Nakai.

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights came out in the USA this week, so here is an extract on auroral substorms – the aurora pattern that was first noticed by a researcher from the University of Alaska, Fairbanks.

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Is a magnetic field reversal imminent?

The Earth’s magnetic field has reversed polarity several times in its history. But when might the magnetic field reverse again? And what might it mean for the aurora?

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5 reasons you need to see the aurora

You’ve read about it, you’ve seen the pictures, it’s somewhere on your bucket list…. Well, here are 5 reasons why you really should go to see the aurora.

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Aurora wins Rutherford Communication Prize

Melanie Windridge wins the Institute of Physics’ Rutherford Plasma Physics Communication Prize for Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights.

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My best aurora… so far!

I recently returned from a trip to Canada with the Cloud Appreciation Society where I saw, and photographed, some beautiful aurora. It was a wonderful trip…

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Sounds of the northern lights

This story by Martin Izzard got me thinking about the sounds of the aurora again – a mystery that is not completely solved.

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Aurora wins ASLI Choice Award

Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights won the Atmospheric Science Librarians International (ASLI) Choice Award in the “popular” category for 2016. I’m delighted, and I just received the plaque!

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The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen

Brian Stanic introduces us to a traditional Scottish song about the aurora – The Northern Lights of Old Aberdeen.

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Welsh Aurora & Dark Skies

Startrails over Wales with the aurora behind.

Astronomer Huw James tells us about seeing the aurora from his home country of Wales and we learn about Dark Sky Sites in the UK.

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Hogmanay Light Show 2015

aurora over Thurso, Scotland.

Gordon Mackie tells of a particularly memorable passage from one calendar year to the next – seeing in the new year watching the aurora over Thurso.

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Aurora Art

"Under Aurora Skies" painting by Ellie Mulhern

Ellie Mulhern is an artist based in Scotland who creates enchanting landscapes that capture the beauty of the hills, coastline and the northern lights.

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Christmas Aurora book ideas

books

Christmas is just around the corner so here are some book ideas for the aurora fanatic in your life. Hopefully they have already read mine! Here are some others they might find interesting, inspiring or fun!

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Aurora in the Eighties

Aurora 1982.

Duncan Waldron recalls photographing the aurora during a large event in 1982, and how his pictures were influential within the British Astronomical Association.

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Planning an aurora trip – 5 tips

With the aurora season ramping up, Best Served Scandinavia’s top Northern Lights agent, Maddie Eleini, gives her top 5 tips for planning a Northern Lights holiday.

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Dream trip – Lusto, Finland

Out in the Lapland forest wearing all our clothes and more.

Ceri stepped out of her travel comfort zone to fulfil a dream – she went on a winter activity holiday where the prize was the northern lights.

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Surprising power of solar storms

Infrared emission of the atmosphere showing that much of the energy dumped into the atmosphere during a solar storm is re-radiated.

A video from NASA tells the story of a big solar storm in March 2012 and what happens to all the energy dumped into the atmosphere at these times.

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Photography tips from CAG

Gordon and me trying to photograph the aurora as the clouds came in. The stars were beautiful. Photo by Maciej Winiarczyk.

The members of Caithness Astronomy Group are avid aurora photographers and I got some composition tips when I was out photographing with them on Orkney.

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Tales of an aurora addict 2

Twisting northern lights above Abisko, Sweden.

Aurora addict Rosie Thompson continues her aurora story with a mini-break to Abisko and a beautiful northern lights display.

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Tales of an aurora addict 1

Art Suite at the Icehotel in Sweden.

Aurora addict Rosie Thompson tells us about her numerous visits to the Arctic to see the northern lights.

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Getting that winning shot

This video gives a glimpse into the extreme conditions aurora photographers sometimes face to get *that* aurora shot.

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How NOT to photograph the aurora

Northern Lights over Orkney on a cloudy, moonlit night.

Andy Sawyers relates his story of seeing the aurora in Orkney and trying to photograph them unprepared.

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Romantic Lights, Vermont

It was a romantic experience for an Irish ski worker in Vermont, 1989, when they were treated to a surprising auroral display.

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In the Loft

NorthernLights in London? Yes! John Evans tracks down his old photos from that famous solar storm in 1989.

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Teenage nights

Auroral corona by Gordon Mackie, Scotland.

Carlton Lunn shares a treasured memory – a brilliant overhead aurora display on his way to a friends house.

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An Aurora celebration

Last night was my book launch for Aurora: In Search of the Northern Lights held at Daunt Books, Holland Park.  The launch was sponsored by Crystal Head Aurora vodka, who made some beautiful aurora cocktails and we had a giant aurora banner so that people

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“Aurora” released

Melanie’s new book was released 25th February 2016. AURORA: In Search of the Northern Lights is a narrative of discovery exploring the visual beauty, legends and science of the northern lights.

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Svalbard’s Total Eclipse

Totality on 20th March 2015, Spitsbergen, Svalbard, by Ivar Marthinusen.

Last Friday was an extraordinary day. Eclipse day.  I awoke to mostly clear weather and couldn’t quite believe our luck.  As I walked down through Longyearbyen towards the university (UNIS) just before seven o’clock, there was a large lenticular cloud hugging the summit of

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Aurora in the Wilderness

Reindalen was vast and beautiful – a wide, long expanse edged by flattened mountains that looked like a giant line of piled white sugar subsiding into the valley.  The surface was mostly icy crust, again with puddles of snow, so pulling the sleds was relatively

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Setting Out Skiing Spitsbergen

I have recently been out skiing across Svalbard.  The trip was more intense – more brutal – than I could have imagined.  I realised that out there everything becomes about survival and nothing else matters. Two of us – just me and a guide –

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Nansen’s ship Fram

I am in Longyearbyen on Svalbard, the Norwegian archipelago at around 80 degrees North. On my way to Svalbard I spent a day in Oslo.  I visited the Fram Museum and saw the polar expedition ship that I had read so much about. It’s rests

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Anticipating Aurora & Eclipse

“You should be here earlier in the winter. When it was colder,” said Knut, the Sami reindeer herder in his gruff, accented English. “Now it’s warm weather, rain, we can’t see the northern lights.” “We haven’t seen them at all since I’ve been here,” I

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My time in the north

Two weeks ago I left London and flew to Canada for the first part of my Northern Lights research trip.  It's summer, so I wasn't travelling to see the northern lights, just to visit physicists and other experts and to take in some of the

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An Arctic Adventure

I'm writing a book on the Northern Lights, and as part of the research I'm travelling to various Arctic regions - Sweden, Norway, Canada and Iceland being the main ones.  Looking at the map, I feel I should be visiting Russia too, as I'm

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