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Photographer captures shot of rare aurora curls over Iceland

Published Jan 31st, 2024 9:48PM EST
northern lights photo
Image: surangaw / Adobe

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A photographer watching the night sky in Iceland has captured beautiful images of rare “aurora curls,” where the light appears to vibrate along with the Earth’s magnetic shield. The photographs were shared via the photographer’s Instagram.

Astrophotographer Jeff Dai captured the images of the zig-zagging light show as they vibrated through the night sky above Kerid, a crater lake in southern Iceland. The show lasted for several minutes, Dai shared on Instagram, and then it vanished altogether.

It’s a beautiful display, and you can see the aurora curls for yourself in the embed below. Dai has also captured several other images and videos of auroras, which are showcased on Dai’s Instagram. Dai is also a member of The World at Night (TWAN), an international project created to capture stunning nightscape photos of celestial showings.

These particular light shows are some of the rarer auroras that you can see, and they are more highly organized versions of the lights that we often see during normal northern light showings. They typically only occur when tremors from the solar wind vibrate through the Earth’s magnetic shield, which only happens when the force of the wind is particularly strong.

Still, it’s exciting to be able to see the aurora curls in Dai’s video, as it showcases a spectacular event that many of us will probably never get the chance to see for ourselves in person. One of the best ways to think of the curling lights is to imagine that we’re watching the vibrations in a guitar string. The lights shine bright until the vibrations stop, and then they fade, as Dai observed.

In the past, astrophotographers have also captured dazzling photos of rare pink auroras following solar storms. It’s amazing how many different variations of light shows our planet’s magnetic field can put on.

Josh Hawkins has been writing for over a decade, covering science, gaming, and tech culture. He also is a top-rated product reviewer with experience in extensively researched product comparisons, headphones, and gaming devices.

Whenever he isn’t busy writing about tech or gadgets, he can usually be found enjoying a new world in a video game, or tinkering with something on his computer.

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