It’s April 1st, and that means the A to Z April Blogging Challenge.  I’m blogging from A to Z – each day of the week a post with a different letter, and time off on Sunday.  If you haven’t signed up there’s still a few days left, and you can find out all about it here.

This year my theme is Natural Phenomena, and I’m picking out topics mainly from earth sciences and astronomy, but using some places I’ve visited or want to visit, to make for a personal approach.

A2015Today; A is for the Aurora – a magical shimmering light in the night sky, accompanied by a sound like crackling or distant thunder.  The colours shift and change (it depends on which gas molecules are being stimulated – oxygen makes the light green, for example).  The effects are generally only seen in the far northern (aurora borealis) or southern latitudes (aurora australis), because they are caused by the sun’s radiation (solar wind) interacting with the earth’s magnetic field at the point where it curves round  to form the north and south poles.

Aurora 241214 Treshnish & HaunnGenerally speaking I live too far south to see the aurora, although there were a few days in 2014, and again recently, when it was rumoured to be visible from the north Norfolk coast.  However, my friends on the Isle of Mull, off the west coast of Scotland, have had brilliant displays for the last couple of years (sun’s activity has been at its peak.)

The photos here are courtesy of Carolyn Charrington, from my favourite place on Earth, Treshnish and Haunn Cottages.  And if you’ve read Dylan’s Yuletide Journey, yes, he comes from Castle Haunn and the entire adventure is set on Mull.

17 Mar 2015

Being the first Wednesday of the month, it’s also #ISWG day, but I’ll skip this month and be back in May.

A is for Aurora Borealis

40 thoughts on “A is for Aurora Borealis

  • 1 April, 2015 at 8:12 am

    Hi, I’m your neighbor in the A to Z sign up list.
    I’ve never seen Aurora borealis with my own eyes. It would be exciting to see it in person.

    • 1 April, 2015 at 1:04 pm

      Hi Romi! Thanks for visiting, and I’ll be over shortly 🙂

    • 1 April, 2015 at 1:20 pm

      It’s described as a faint crackling, but I think faint is the word!

  • 1 April, 2015 at 9:56 am

    I’ve never seen it, either – but the pictures all look stunning. Thanks for choosing it for your ‘A’ post, so I have been able to see some more. And your writing was great!

    Ros at GenWestUK

  • 1 April, 2015 at 12:17 pm

    Beautiful, Jemima – can’t wait to see this some day!

    • 1 April, 2015 at 1:15 pm

      I did see it faintly when I was on Svalbard, but not a good view. Another time, perhaps!

  • 1 April, 2015 at 2:25 pm

    Something everyone should get a chance to see! Great start! 🙂

  • 1 April, 2015 at 3:09 pm

    Seeeing the Aurora is on my to-do list. The fact that it will require traveling to someplace far north is a bonus 🙂

  • 1 April, 2015 at 3:38 pm

    Love the photos and to be reminded of this incredible natural phenomena. One of my classmates in a workshop shaped much of her YA novel around the Aurora. Thanks for the inspiration!

    • 1 April, 2015 at 4:20 pm

      That sounds like a great idea, but not sure what I’d do with the aurora as a prompt!

  • 1 April, 2015 at 4:17 pm

    I used to live in Alaska…and the Aurora is one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. Well worth a night walk in the cold.

    • 1 April, 2015 at 4:21 pm

      Despite the temperatures when I was up in the arctic recently, I don’t remember being cold. It just shows that it’s the clothing, not the weather 🙂 It could also be the short-term memory 😉

  • 1 April, 2015 at 5:02 pm

    Oo, what a great topic for the month! I’ve never seen the Aurora, but it’s on my bucket list too. So is Scotland!

  • 1 April, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I’ve never managed to see this in Glasgow! I love Mull – it’s too long since I’ve been. We’re considering an island holiday this year, but there are too many to choose from…..

    • 1 April, 2015 at 8:26 pm

      If you prefer a farm holiday on the edge of the world – try Treshnish.

    • 1 April, 2015 at 8:29 pm

      Yes it was really weird – the aurora was so far south it could be seen in the UK and as far south as Croatia, apparently – except in the UK it rained lol

      There’s a website we were told about – its called – has the aurora prediction in the sidebar

  • 1 April, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Seeing the aurora borealis is on my bucket list so I loved this post!

    • 2 April, 2015 at 5:14 am

      Seen it! From Mississippi. Seriously. At least that is how the mom and the weatherman explained the strange glowy sky that lasted for a week.

      And fancy meeting you here. I started my run tonight with your blog, and this one is where I call it a night.

      • 2 April, 2015 at 12:17 pm

        Well then I’m jealous! Fancy meeting you here too 😉

  • 1 April, 2015 at 10:15 pm

    I want to see one up close and personal.

    • 5 April, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Good luck!

      • 2 April, 2015 at 5:15 am

        Hahaha~ Hi there, Gene’o. I’ll be getting to you soon!

  • 2 April, 2015 at 6:40 am

    I’m elated Jemima!
    I have been reading so much, today: All Genres, All kinds
    I’m as said before looking forward to all the other letters! And not to mention now that I’ve read your post I yearn to see Aurora borealis, It’d be magical 🙂
    A is for Arcadian smile ~ A Poesy Discourse

    • 2 April, 2015 at 4:04 pm

      I hope you do, Prunezaye, but remember that the camera gets the best colours as it ‘sees’ a wider spectrum at night than our eyes do!

  • 5 April, 2015 at 1:05 am

    This is a great idea for an A to Z series, Jemima. I love those pictures! I haven’t had the opportunity to see the aurora, but I hope to do so someday. 🙂

    • 5 April, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Thanks, Sue 🙂

  • 6 April, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I’ve heard that the aurora borealis is amazing! Has to be seen to be believed 🙂

  • 4 May, 2015 at 3:44 pm

    I have seen it and it is amazing! It was winter and my family ended up standing out in the snow watching the lights. I don’t remember any sound, but I do remember the sight. I also missed seeing it when my uncle didn’t call us up because it was late to alert us to the aurora happening. I would gladly miss sleep to see it.

  • 15 May, 2015 at 7:32 am

    I am on my road trip.
    Auroras are lovely, I don’t think that I have ever seen one.

    • 15 May, 2015 at 11:38 am

      Thanks for visiting, Solveig! I must start my road trip soon 🙂

      • 15 May, 2015 at 11:44 am

        You are welcome. I did read a lot of what your guinea pigs had to say during A to Z, but never had the chance to really visit your blog.

  • 17 May, 2015 at 1:44 pm

    Hi Jemima – I too would love to see the Aurora Borealis .. must be incredible .. and this year they’ve been surprisingly far south in the UK .. but not the south coast! Cheers Hilary

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