Watch: Photographer films extremely rare “aurora curls”
Photographer Jeff Dai captured a site you don’t see every day, not even if you live in the far North or South. He managed to film extremely rare “aurora curls”, creating green ripples in the sky above him.
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Jeff took the timelapse at Kerid Crater in Iceland on January 16, 2024. “The view was captured when the aurora appears in the zenith which exists only several minutes,” Jeff writes. And he managed to save those few minutes in a video!
But what are “aurora curls?” Also known as known as ultra-low frequency (ULF) waves, the phenomenon occurs when solar particles strike Earth’s magnetic field, causing large waves to vibrate. “Imagine that Earth’s magnetic field is like a guitar string,” Xing-Yu Li, a ULF wave expert at Peking University in Beijing, China, told Spaceweather.com. What we’re seeing in Jeff’s video are “vibrations in that string.”
Live Science explains that we rarely spot these “curls” in the sky. The magnetic pulsations typically appear only as a squiggly line on a chart recorder. However, in this particular case, high-energy particles from space traveled along the undulating geomagnetic field. This caused it to emit a vibrant auroral light and etch the wave across the dark sky.
Jeff was fortunate to witness and capture this phenomenon, as it’s truly a remarkable, once-in-a-lifetime sight! However, since the sun has been highly active, we might see these aurora curls more often over the following years. Or at least we can see the “regular” aurora in unusual locations.
Dunja Djudjic is a multi-talented artist based in Novi Sad, Serbia. With 15 years of experience as a photographer, she specializes in capturing the beauty of nature, travel, and fine art. In addition to her photography, Dunja also expresses her creativity through writing, embroidery, and jewelry making.