One of the greatest auroral storms I have ever seen in my life

Posted by David Eicher
on Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Auroral storm, east of Reykjavik, Iceland // Credit: David J. Eicher
Late in the day on Tuesday, March 17, on Iceland’s south shore, Astronomy’s 2015 eclipse tour group stopped for a wonderful dinner. We had lobster and all manner of trimmings in huge bowls in a lovely roadside inn after a very long day of touring spectacular sights (see the other blog about today).

And then, with a sky that had cleared completely throughout the day, we had an incredible treat. A solar storm was raging in Earth’s atmosphere, caused by a coronal mass ejection from the Sun a couple days prior, and we witnessed one of the greatest auroral displays any of us had ever seen.

Our tour bus parked outside a small town on the way back to Reykjavik, and in the cool air we went crazy for a couple hours, shooting endless images of this amazing aurora. We saw virtually every shape — curtains, rays, arcs, pillars, and everything else, and with incredibly vivid brightness. Most of the highest surface brightness auroral forms were green, but the display was bright enough to show other subtle colors, too, red, yellow, violet. It was INCREDIBLE!!

A night none of us will ever forget!

On Thursday, we make our way to the Faroe Islands. Stay tuned for more.

For all images from the trip, visit the Online Reader Gallery

For related blogs, see:
     Astronomy's 2015 eclipse trip begins in Reykjavik, Iceland
     Astronomy eclipse expedition explores Iceland
     Iceland's South Shore and lectures

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