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Aurora Borealis puts on breathtaking show for Norwegian photographer

posted 10 Apr 2011, 06:13 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 10 Apr 2011, 06:17 ]
To witness the Aurora Borealis, also known as the Northern Lights, is to see a spectacle unrivalled in nature. For those unable to see the light show first hand, Norwegian photographer Terje Sorgjerd has recently endured the bitter cold of northern Norway to produce pictures that amount to the next best thing.

It took Terje Sorgjerd patience and great endurance in temperatures of -25 degrees to capture the stunning images of northern Norway's Aurora Borealis. Shot in and around Kirkenes and Pas National Park bordering Russia in mid-March, the images show what Sorgjerd says is "one of the biggest aurora borealis shows in recent years".

After waiting years for the right conditions, Sorgjerd trekked into the park with 90 pounds (41 kg) of camping and camera equipment and set up to record the phenomenon. Over the course of a week in the wildrness he took more than 22,000 pictures, from which he created the time-lapse video.

Auroras are the result of collisions between clouds of charged particles sent by eruptions on the Sun and gas molecules such as nitrogen and oxygen in the Earth's atmosphere. The Earth's magnetic field traps the charged particles at the poles, which behave like magnets attracting metal. At the North Pole, the phenonemon is called the Aurora Borealis, at the South Pole it's called the Aurora Australis.

The variety of colours in the aurora comes from the different gases at different altitudes reacting to the charged particles. Oxygen at an altitude of 60 miles (97 km) emits a yellow-green light. At much higher altitudes it gives off red. Nitrogen produces blue light.

Terje Sorgjerd says the experience of capturing the natural light show was "good fun".