Sunday, 11 December 2011

Spirits in the Sky

Midsummer sunrise in Tromsø, Norway
via wikipedia
Several years ago we travelled up the coast of Norway from Bergen to Tromsø to see the mid-night sun. The journey was partly by train, small plane and the Norwegian Post ship. The boat called in at the Lofoten Islands, where we stayed for a couple of nights. The pleasure of the post boat is that it is an ordinary working ship which visits many of the small outlying communities. It may drop off a piano, pick up a coffin or boxes of food, and of course leave and deliver sacks of mail.
The mid-night sun occurs in the summer months at latitudes north of the Arctic Circle. Given good weather, the sun is visible for a continuous 24 hours. We watched from a mountain top in Tromsø, it was wonderful being surrounded by daylight, seeing the sun skim down to the horizon, and then turn to climb into the sky without vanishing. As the sun travels down to the horizon it creates evening glows in the sky, but as it rides up again, immediately, dawn glows fill the sky, which are reflected in the water below.
It would be lovely to visit the same area and see the spectacular Northern Lights, aurora borealis, which this winter are predicted to be the best for many years.
On clear nights with a combination of the right atmospheric conditions, luminous, multicoloured shapes in the night sky are created. This has been happening ever since the earth had an atmosphere, so tundra trekking dinosaurs would have seen them. 
Many Arctic dwelling peoples, including the Inuit, have attributed spiritual feelings to the phenomenon, deciding that the lights were probably the ghosts of ancestors. The Vikings, given to more colourful explanations thought the ethereal reflections came from the armour of the Valkyrior - the virgin warriors of Norse mythology. The lights are at their most frequent in late autumn and winter/early spring; Between the autumn equinox and spring equinox.  

20 comments:

  1. Hello Rosemary:
    What a wonderful experience to have had and one which you both illustrate and describe so very vividly. It is somewhat salutary to make the connections, as you have done here, with the same event happening thousands of years before our own time.

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  2. Dear Jane & Lance - In our lifetimes we get only a small glimpse of the wonders of this world. Yes, you are right it is timeless.

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  3. how exciting to read you have visited Norway! yes! the midnight sun is such an amazing experience! and the Lofoten islands is a dream destination of ours. i have seen the Northern Light only once live ( since we live in the south east of Norway) ... i run out in the garden with only my pijamas and socks on, and i was laughing from joy with my hands up in the air, dancing on the icy snow ( only as a crazy greek can ...)
    people were looking at me from their windows, we lived in a busy area at that time...wondering what on earth is this woman doing! it was so magical i still smile when i remember it : )

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  4. Ah Demie, what a lovely, lovely comment. I can just see you now enjoying seeing the Northern Lights. Magical for you to remember, and magical for me to hear about it. Thanks

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  5. Hello, Rosemary - Your description of the midnight sun sounds very romantic, definitely an experience one would want to share! You might find this hard to believe, but in the late 1950s, when I was living in Petersburg, Virginia (south of Washington, D. C.), I saw the aurora borealis! It lasted only a couple of minutes.

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  6. Beautiful photo - what an incredible sky !

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  7. Dear Mark - how wonderful to have seen the Aurora Borealis, even for a couple of minutes. I live in hope.

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  8. Thanks for your lovely comment Antonio

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  9. Dear Nicola - thanks for visiting and commenting.

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  10. Mi-ar placea sa ajung in Norvegia si sa vad fiordurile si aurora boreala. Frumoase Imagini!

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  11. I've seen the Aurora Borealis quite a few times as I was growing up in rural Ontario, where the sky was not polluted by the light of cities. What I remember most, in addition to the remarkable light show, was the crackling & snapping noise that occurred at the same time. Quite incredible!
    Carolyn

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  12. Marius - Norvegia este o tara frumoasa pe care am vizitat de multe ori ca fiul meu şi familia sa trăiesc acolo. Sunt sigur că v-ar place prea.

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  13. Dear Carolyn - I did wonder if you had ever seen it as I know that Canada is on the same latitude as Norway. I had not realised that it made a crackling sound, I suppose it would be the same kind of noise as you get from static electricity.

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  14. What an adventure, Rosemary: that sunset is just stunning. The world has such wonders to show us: however we will make sure we see them all?

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  15. rosemary thanks for your visit. good place to shoot. regards

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  16. It certainly was a magically and memorable journey Kate - we can only hope to see a few of the wonders of the world.

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  17. Gracias por su visita también Oteador - León es sin duda una ciudad hermosa

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  18. Hello, Rosemary.

      Lovely your works, full of JOY!

      Thank you World-wide LOVE.
      and, your Support.

      The prayer for all peace.
      I wish You all the best.

    Happy holidays for you and yours.
    Greetings.
    From Japan, ruma ❀

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  19. Dear Ruma - thank you for your lovely comments and for visiting. I send you Greetings and the hope of a Peaceful and Happy New Year.

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