Sometimes the sun illuminates even the night a little

As I drove home from work and switched on the Radio, the announcer finished his last sentence about northern lights even above middle Germany. Annoyed that I missed this interesting report but much more intrigued by such a rare phenomenon at our latitude I immediately sat down at my computer and looked up the Aurora forecast. Actually, there was a strong solar flare, resulting in a strong solar storm traveling towards earth. When these solar storms hit the earth, our magnetic field acts like a shield and deflects most of the charged particles and the rest is piped towards the magnetic poles where it enters the atmosphere and induce Aurora. Our magnetic field is bent and shifted by these solar storms, the stronger the storm the stronger the deformation and the farther south the aurora can be seen from the ground. In very unusual conditions the northern lights can be photographed (normally they are not visible by the naked eye) even at such low latitudes as ours. Under these conditions a view through our specialized sun-telescope is worth it. With the good weather we had that day and enough time to find out which camera fits the best I was able to take this amazing shot. You can clearly see the many prominences around the sun (these geyser-like Bows) and the interesting structure of the sun’s surface especially around the sunspots. Unfortunately, I was not able to photograph northern lights that night – maybe I just missed the right moment.

Photos & Text: Simon Gier

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