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Newly Captured Shot Of Aurora Borealis In Fort Yukon Alaska

Aura Borealis (also known as the northern lights) are breathtakingly beautiful and moving waves of light that have fascinated mankind for millennia.

The dazzling light show in a Newly Captured Shot Of Aurora Borealis In Fort Yukon Alaska is a somewhat violent event, in spite of its aesthetic splendor.

Purple, green, and blue colored Aurora Borealis
Purple, green, and blue colored Aurora Borealis

How Aurora Borealis Are Formed?

Earth's upper atmosphere is being bombarded by energized particles from the sun, which can travel at speeds of up to 45 million miles per hour (72 million kilometers per hour). Our planet's magnetic field shields us from the incoming storm.

During the dramatic process of the Earth's magnetic field redirecting the particles toward the poles (there are also southern lights, which you can learn about below), the dramatic process changes into a cinematic atmospheric phenomenon that dazzles and delights both scientists and skywatchers.

Who Named 'Aurora Borealis'?

The name "aurora borealis" was coined by Italian astronomer Galileo Galilei in 1619, after the Roman goddess of dawn Aurora and the Greek god of the north wind, Boreas, but the earliest known depiction of the northern lights is found in a 30,000-year-old cave painting in France, according to some researchers.

For millennia, civilizations all across the world have gazed at the celestial phenomena, attributing all kinds of origin stories to the twirling lights in the sky. Northern lights are said to be caused by spirits playing ball with a walrus head, according to one North American Inuit tale, while the Scandinavians believed that the phenomena were caused by light reflecting off the Valkyrie, the magical maidens who transported warriors to the afterlife.

It is also recorded that early astronomers observed the northern lights.

According to NASA, a royal astronomer under Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar II penned his description of the occurrence on a tablet dated 567 B.C., and a Chinese report from 193 B.C. also mentions the aurora, among other things.

It wasn't until the turn of the twentieth century that the science of the northern lights was fully understood.

After being steered toward the poles by the Earth's magnetic field, Norwegian physicist Kristian Birkeland claimed that electrons emitted from sunspots were responsible for the atmospheric lights.

However, it would not be until many years after Birkeland's 1917 death that the idea would be proven right.

Green colored Aurora Borealis above the lake, mountains, and trees covered with snow
Green colored Aurora Borealis above the lake, mountains, and trees covered with snow

During the month of March 2017, NCL set out for Alaska with the bold ambition of filming the northern lights Alaska edition from a high-altitude balloon for the first time in known history, which they accomplished.

Many local test flights in California, multiple design modifications, and a great deal of preparation preceded our departure for the north.

Mission Of NCL

Night Crew Labs team was in Fairbanks for a total of two and a half weeks, including travel time.

The first week was devoted to reconnaissance and putting equipment through its paces.

They had never seen the northern lights before, and neither their flight cameras nor they had, so they wanted to make sure they had everything set up correctly.

NCL team was fortunate to experience strong auroral activity (KP's of 4 to 6) as well as clear skies, which allowed us to see some of the most breathtaking spectacles of our life and witness the Newly Captured Shot Of Aurora Borealis In Fort Yukon Alaska.

Because they were up all night chasing auroras, they took use of the few hours of daylight they had while awake to scout out and plan launch and landing spots that were easily accessible by road, or as close as they could get to them.

Outside of Fairbanks, the landscape quickly becomes more rural, but the winds were (at least partially) in their favor.

Their balloon flights over Fairbanks totaled three flights, two during the day and one at night in order to obtain video of the aurora borealis.

The Camera System

NCL team needed a camera system that could capture the aurora borealis in low light conditions in order to film the comparatively dim aurora borealis at night.

They settled on the Sony a7S, which is a low-weight, full-frame mirrorless camera with excellent low-light sensitivity and a small footprint.

The performance of the Sony a7S in the stratosphere was tested before the Alaska expedition, and the results were excellent.

On separate high-altitude balloon excursions in 2015 and 2016, they tested the camera's capabilities. The results were promising.

After receiving excellent results, they decided to keep it as the baseline camera for capturing the aurora.

The following supporting equipment was also included as part of the camera payload, in addition to the camera itself:

-Atomos Ninja Flame 4K Recorder

-Varavon External Battery

-Sony a7S (Mark I) Rokinon 24mm f/1.4 lens

-Neat Video

Green, yellow, and pink colored Aurora Borealis above a lake and the lane of trees
Green, yellow, and pink colored Aurora Borealis above a lake and the lane of trees

Build

The difficulty of this expedition in the harsh Alaskan environment necessitated the use of specialized technology.

This started with the NCL Balloon Integrated Re-programmable Computer (BRIC) – Mark II, which was the first of its kind.

The BRIC is comprised of an Arduino MEGA, which is programmed to run its own flight management system.

In order to facilitate connection with other components, NCL team had a bespoke Printed Circuit Board (PCB) manufactured. These components included a GPS unit, radio telemetry link, barometric altitude sensor, and eight thermistors (temperature sensors).

When it comes to positioning, the GPS helps the team figure it out, and the radio allows them to track their payload live. The thermistors provide feedback to their electric heating system, which keeps everything from freezing in the hard -50 degrees Celsius (-58 degrees Fahrenheit) high altitude environment.

Science Behind This

Apart from filming the northern lights and taking radiation readings, they also took photos and videos of them during the journey.

More information on the science of the aurora and these radiation measurements may be found in the in-depth essay written by Ashish Goel of the National Center for Laboratory Science.

Why Is Aurora Borealis Only In The North?

The Northern Hemisphere's aurora borealis is the most visible of the two poles, and it can be viewed at its most intense near the arctic circle. The fact that the Aurora can only be seen in the poles has everything to do with the way the Earth's magnetic field behaves in the first place. Due to its metal core, the Earth has two poles and generates a magnetic field, similar to that of a bar magnet.

Conclusion

In its most spectacular manifestation, the aurora borealis (also known as the northern lights) is a vivid representation of the Earth's magnetic field interacting with charged particles from the sun. When visiting the high northern (or southern) latitudes, it's also breathtakingly magnificent, and it's well worth spending a chilly night out to see it.

This Newly Captured Shot Of Aurora Borealis In Fort Yukon Alaska is the true example of Earth's beauty. And this calls you to appreciate the MYSTICAL nature.

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