Northern Lights Chaser Captures Mysterious Scene

Northern Lights Chaser Captures Mysterious Scene: ‘Like Another Galaxy’

An Icelandic northern lights chaser has managed to get a picture of a “mystery galaxy shape”.

Four days ago, Shang Yang (a user from China) posted a photograph of the strange show on Reddit with the description, “Can anyone help identify this mystery galaxy shape that appeared in the northern lights?”

The picture features a sizable white circle surrounded by a green northern lights background and staring out over a countryside blanketed in snow.

Yang revealed to Newsweek that the image was shot at 1:04 a.m. local time on March 5th, just north of the town of Akureyri, which is located in northern Iceland.

“During our trip, my friends and I were chasing the northern lights,” the Redditor stated. We left Akureyri’s city lights behind and headed to a rural location after seeing that the Icelandic Meteorological Office was predicting a particularly active aurora night.”

One of them saw a little circle of light up north at about one in the morning local time, according to Yang, and it soon grew into what is seen in the photo in the Reddit message.

“It formed into a large spiral shape and seemed to be coming towards us; it lasted around five minutes before it disappeared,” Yang stated.

Prof. Valerie Rapson of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Oneonta, where she teaches physics and astronomy, explained to Newsweek that “the spiral shape in the photo is probably caused by SpaceX’s recent launch of a Falcon 9 rocket carrying small satellites from the Vandenberg Space Force Base in California.”

According to Rapson, “These intriguing blue/white spiral patterns can emerge following a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket launch.” A white spiral appears in the sky when the rocket’s second stage spins and releases fuel or conducts a de-orbit burn.”

Yang also provided Newsweek with further photos of the scenario, which the Redditor pointed out show “the beginning of the spiral forming in the lights” before it is seen “quickly expanding and beginning to take shape,”

The white circle is visible against a completely dark sky in a video that Yang also shared with Newsweek, showing the spiral as it was developing. “It looks like a goddamn UFO…that is f****** sick,” a person can be heard saying in the video. As the spiral widened, it “went into the general direction of Akureyri,” the Redditor recounted.

“In the moment, it was both awe-inspiring and a little scary because we knew it was definitely not part of normal aurora activity; it almost looked like another galaxy amongst the lights,” Yang recalled.

This year, northern light chasers could be able to watch the natural light show from regions of the planet where they are often not visible, according to the most recent Reddit post.

Due to high solar activity, which is predicted to peak between January and October of this year, scientists believe that 2024 may witness the strongest northern lights (also known as Aurora Borealis) activity in the previous 20 years as well as the upcoming decade. This information is provided by the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Increased solar storm strength brought on by stronger solar cycles fuels geomagnetic activity. The northern lights are usually most visible at the poles, thus “if the geomagnetic field is active, then the aurora will be brighter and farther from the poles.”

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According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, “The aurora extends equatorward when space weather activity increases and more frequent and larger storms and substorms occur.” As far south as the United States, Europe, and Asia, auroras can be seen during major occurrences.”

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