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The Northern Lights, the Magnetic Field and Life

19 Feb 2018, 12:05 UTC
The Northern Lights, the Magnetic Field and Life George Karbus
(200 words excerpt, click title or image to see full post)

Northern Lights over a frozen lake in Northern Norway, inside the Arctic Circle near Alta. The displays can go on for hours, or can disappear for days or weeks. It all depends on solar flares. (Ongajok.no)
May I please invite you to join me in the presence of one of the great natural phenomena and spectacles of our world.
Not only is it enthralling to witness and scientifically crucial, but it’s quite emotionally moving as well.
Why? Because what’s before me is a physical manifestation of one of the primary, but generally invisible, features of Earth that make life possible. It’s mostly seen in the far northern and far southern climes, but the force is everywhere and it protects our atmosphere and us from the parched fate of a planet like Mars.
I’m speaking, of course, of the northern lights, the Aurora Borealis, and the planet’s magnetic fields that help turn on the lights.
My vantage point is the far northern tip of Norway, inside the Arctic Circle. It’s stingingly cold in the silent woods, frozen still for the long, dark winter, and it’s always an unpredictable gift when the lights show up.
But they‘re out tonight, dancing in bright ...

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