Norwegian Constitution day and some Auroras
Just a brief one today.
Gratulerer med dagen, alle sammen! Idag er det syttende mai - dvs Grunnlovsdag i Norge!
Yes, it's Constitution Day in Norway today. Norway adopted its constitution on this day in 1814. On that day the country separated from Denmark. It wasn't a complete victory though, because at the same time Norway was ceded to Sweden. This was part of Denmark's punishment for backing the wrong side in the Napoleonic wars.
Norway didn't finally became independent until 1905, when they proudly erased the Swedish flag from their own.
Maybe I'm a bit of a Nordophile, but today is also a good opportunity to segue into auroras and the solar cycle.
Yes, the Sun is waking up after its mid-cycle nap.
Just the other day some weak Auroras appeared and were photographed from Victoria. That's pretty good by Southern Hemisphere standards. Normally they're only seen from the southernmost parts of Tasmania.
Auroras are caused by charged particles from the solar wind interacting with the magnetic field and Earth's upper atmosphere near the poles. Oxygen, Nitrogen and other gases are ionised when struck by electrons from the sun. This makes them glow.
I think that auroras are nature's second-most impressive phenomenon, second only to a total solar eclipse, of course.
Incidentally, if you want to see current aurora-prone areas, have a look at spaceweather.com. Scroll down a little to find the "current auroral oval" and select New Zealand. Aurora-prone areas are marked - in green, of course.
Unfortunately, my only photos of Auroras are a little unimpressive. They were taken on 2 January 2014, and I think it was from Rørvik, which isn't particularly far north of Norway. The background stars and the lights on shore are all spaghetti because we were on the back of a ship at the time.
I'd love to see some of your photos.