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Beautiful Northern Lights Get Lit by Science! (Cabin Commentary and story)

Posted by on Feb 21, 2012 in Alaska Living, Cabin Commentary, News, Photos | 2 comments

My first winter here I was overwhelmed by these beautiful dancing lights in the sky. Each day as we drove home from work we experienced all the gorgeous colors. I was especially excited when the pink and orange ribbons began sometime in mid December. It was outstanding, overwhelming and spiritual. These days all it takes is stepping onto my porch and walking a bit up the roads so I can see above the tree line of the ridge. With no light pollution in the woods I am really blessed. I can see how the Alaskan Native Eskimo Tribe believed their legends about the Lights:

An Eskimo Legend

Auroras – or Northern Lights – are believed to be the torches held in the hands of Spirits seeking the souls of those who have just died, to lead them over the abyss terminating the edge of the world. A narrow pathway leads across it to the land of brightness and plenty, where disease and pain are no more, and where food of all kinds is already in abundance. To this place none but the dead and the Raven can go. When the Spirits wish to communicate with the people of the Earth, they make a whistling noise, and the Earth people answer only in a whispering tone. The Eskimo say that they are able to call the Aurora and converse with it. They send messages to the dead through these Spirits.

© 2009 Jan Curtis northern lights images. All rights reserved


Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – Poker Flat sends up rocket into northern lights for GPS research

by The Associated Press
Feb 20, 2012

A photographer catches the trail of a rocket from Poker Flat as it blasts into the aurora borealis northeast of Fairbanks. Photo courtesy Casey Thompson

ITHACA, N.Y. – The rocket arcing up into the northern lights above Alaska was on its way to measure the effects of the celestial phenomenon’s effects on global positioning systems.

It was a mission launched Saturday by a NASA funded group of 60 researchers studying electrical activity in the aurora borealis and the likelihood it’s interfering with GPS and other signals.

Cornell University says the 46-foot rocket lifted off from the University of Alaska’s Poker Flat Research Range near Fairbanks and sent back data as it flew through the aurora at an altitude of 217 miles.

Cornell is leading the research. In addition to Cornell and Alaska, the other institutions involved are Dartmouth College, the University of New Hampshire, the Southwest Research Institute in Texas, and Oslo University.

FROM: Fairbanks Daily News-Miner – Poker Flat sends up rocket into northern lights for GPS research

Image credit:

Ester Dome (this is right above my cabin)

Aurora Borealis observed in Norway on 2006-10-28.
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