Monday, 18 July 2011

Aurora borealis

In our first weeks we quickly got ourselves into an evening routine of watching the sunset around 9.00p.m., although this was getting progressively later, finding something to occupy ourselves with until about 10.30p.m. and then gearing ourselves up for an aurora borealis watch. Our first watch was spent in the dome on the roof, reached via rickety stairs. Nothing seemed to be happening, but we kept imagining we'd seen something. Finally at about 11.30p.m patches of faint light started appearing in the sky and then getting brighter and greener and spreading across the sky, until bands formed and moved around in a ghostly fashion. Every night over the next few days we saw the Aurora borealis, but we migrated outside since the view was so much better. Valerie found us some cardboard for me to sit on and her to do sit-ups on (while practicing Spanish numbers...) since she didn't like craning her neck to observe the spectacle. One night there was a whole sheet of it raining through the sky.

Despite nights with great potential for aurora borealis watching (according to the positioning of the auroral oval the skies were cloudy or just filled with stars. We had given up on spotting the northern lights again a few weeks into our stay, but they did come back and put on a show. As the snow and ice off the bay melted the skies became increasingly cloudy and there was no opportunity to see the spectacle again. And then it just got too light at night!

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