A breathtaking image of a giant whale-shaped aurora in the night sky has been captured by a photographer in central Sweden.
Freelance astrophotographer Göran Strand took the image in Östersund while staying up all night to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights.
The phenomenon that caused the aurora is called a corona. This happens when someone stands under the aurora borealis, facing the same direction as the earth’s magnetic field. The rays appear to radiate from a single point in the sky and emerge outward.
Brin says Newsweek that this particular crown, which has fused into the shape of a whale, is “pretty rare”.
“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a crown move so quickly. It was really surreal to watch,” he said.
Strand said he follows different websites to keep him updated on conditions for seeing the lights. He said that night, “all the conditions were perfect”, with almost no wind and temperatures a few degrees below zero.
In a blog post, Strand said he went out around 7:30 p.m. local time with his family to catch a glimpse of the Northern Lights. After a while, his family returned home, leaving Strand alone. He decided to stay outside to see if the weather would bring “something more spectacular”. He was not disappointed.
While waiting for the solar wind to strike again, Strand has found a spot on a city ski slope. He said it was a chance to get a good view of the lights above the city.
“I had time to enjoy the view of a very colorful and beautiful lunar corona and for a short time I could also see a slight lunar halo, so there was a lot going on that night” , he wrote. “In the end, it turned out to be an unforgettable night with one of the most amazing Northern Lights I’ve seen. It’s a night like this that gets us out at night, astrophotographers, waiting and waiting for that perfect moment.”
Strand posted a video of the experiment on his YouTube channel, with the images showing the aurora in real time. The lights begin to dim and gradually become more vibrant as the night progresses.
The best time of year to see the Northern Lights is from late September to early March, as this is when the nights are longest.
Auroras are known to take on particular shapes in the past, and these shapes can tell scientists what’s going on in space by showing how Earth’s atmosphere interacts with the magnetosphere, the region surrounding the earth.