Halifax, West Yorkshire
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I saw the Northern Lights 🌌

I saw the Northern Lights 🌌

Confession time – I am somewhat obsessed with the Aurora Borealis. It is something I have always been mesmerised by. I was lucky enough to see it for the first time last year…

Mr M and I took our boys to Lapland (Äkäslompolo, Finland), and as well as the typical Santa experiences, which were fantastic, I secretly hoped I would be able to catch a glimpse of them.

Now, travelling all the way to Finland doesn’t guarantee seeing the aurora. Several factors need to be satisfied. There needs to be clear skies, in a location near to the north pole, with a high KP number (a measure of geomagnetic activity, not a manufacturer of crisps!).

I have an app on my phone that alerts me when the KP goes up, and then it’s a case of heading to dark skies, looking north and crossing fingers.

Flashback to last year in Äkäslompolo, we got the alert.

Woohoo!

We packed a bag of supplies and a flask of hot chocolate, dressed ready for the -30°C temperature and headed off to the frozen lake in the middle of the village.

We arrived and looked north.

Nothing.

Just a faint wispy cloud on the horizon.

Where were the green, purple and red ribbons?

I’ll tell you where, nowhere.

However, we had been advised that the good old iPhone camera is much better at detecting the aurora than the human eye. So, Mr M took his iPhone out and, using night mode with a three-second exposure, took a photo of the wispy clouds…

There it was. Not quite as spectacular as I thought it would be, but there it was none the less. We’d seen it.

Flash forward to bonfire night 2023 from my back garden in Ripponden. I got the alert…

Out we went to look at the fireworks, and whilst my boys were ‘oohing’ and ‘ahhing’ at the fireworks, I was making the same noises, looking north!

There it was again, literally in my own backyard. This time, more turquoise rather than green.

Now, some of you local to Ripponden may have noticed the strange halo around the moon the other night. It was beautiful. But guess what…

Again, it was not the brightest show due to the light pollution and cloud cover, but they were there. Purples and greens this time.

I’ve told a few people about seeing them, and a lot of them said, ‘I didn’t know you could see the aurora here!’. You can.

Sometimes, we get so bogged down looking at what’s right in front of our noses that we forget to look up.

Please look up more; it’s beautiful.

Until next time,

Charlotte