The northern lights are one of nature’s wonders that seem so other-worldly there’s no wonder Phillip Pullman used them to depict a parallel universe in The Northern Lights. These beautiful, magical light displays can be seen the closer to the north pole you get and are common occurrences in the most northern parts of Scandinavia, Russia, Greenland, and Canada amongst others. Today I virtually visited Sweden to see if I could catch a glimpse of them.
At times it seems like everyone is travelling except me, but sadly the only travel I’ll be doing this year is from the safety of my sofa. When I thought about a new thing I would have liked to have done on a holiday this year, seeing the northern lights is perhaps one of the few things that could be done virtually (the rest were mainly food-related of course!) So tonight I “travelled” over to Sweden, specifically a webcam in Porjus, Jokkmokk.
Rather than a live stream, the webcam takes a picture every two minutes. I started tuning in about 8.30pm CET, but could just see a few stars. I was heartened that it was a nice clear night and left the webcam open on the TV whilst I was doing bits around the house so I could check it’s progress through the evening. Before long, I noticed a ring of green appearing and although at first, I thought it was a quirk of the photography, it soon became clear it was something more.
I mean, how amazing is that? I was blown away by how beautiful it was and the fact that it was actually happening as I was watching it. I know that sounds strange, but considering this natural phenomenon is something most people have only seen in photographs or a recording, it felt special seeing it at the moment it was happening, even I was thousands of miles away.
I’m not going to lie, this was a very easy new thing that I pulled out of my hat after a tough day, but I was so impressed with it that it’s actually been one of my favourite ones from the last few weeks. The world is just bloody amazing.