With its name rooted in the Latin word for ‘sunrise’, the natural light phenomenon known as aurora has been the stuff legends and myth are made of, ever since the earliest people marveled at it in the heavens. Thought to be the result of things ranging from fluorescent energy stored in glaciers to the mystical intervening of God for the Union army, the Alaskan aurora borealis also known as the Northern Lights, once stripped of all mysticism is really a fairly ordinary occurrence that happens whenever solar winds and charged particles come into contact with our atmosphere. The outcome of this reaction, even though explained through simple science does not diminish in any ways its breathtaking appearance.
San Francisco-based photographic artist Alexis Coram took it upon herself to document this fantastic event. Armed with her trusty camera she journeyed up to Alaska to record the phenomenon and the results she yielded are nothing short of spectacular. Coram said, “I headed to Alaska in February with the hope of catching a glimpse of the Northern Lights with mine. That glimpse turned into an extravaganza…a party in the sky, and I was an onlooker, a face in the crowd…awestruck, mesmerized, feeling like the luckiest girl in the world.”
Coram was fortunate to witness such a spectacular show, but her luck was only part of the story. Thanks to our knowledge today of the solar cycle in addition to geomagnetism, Coram knew precious and precise information that helped her chances of observing the Northern Lights. In ancient times, people had to guess about such phenomena, giving way to the many extraordinary reasons conjured through the ages of the celestial event.
Today, we are flooded with information and facts about the natural world and it is common knowledge that the month of February is a particularly active month for solar flares as well as the Northern Lights. At the end of the day, scientific explanations notwithstanding, everything we behold is the handiwork of God.
See what Coram so beautifully captured in this time-lapse video.