It’s fascinating, the role the Internet is playing in bringing things that were once considered unreachable right into our homes (or Wi-Fi-enabled cafes). I’ve explored some of these, like a virtual tour of Paris and, in this post, Google Ski-run views and audio/video along the Trans-Siberian railway.
Now, as CBC News reports, no longer do you have to freeze your buns off way up north hoping to catch a glimpse of the majestic aurora borealis, or northern lights– you can simply connect to a stream provided by the Canadian Space Agency (CSA). AuroraMAX Live is broadcasting the image from a color “all-sky imager”camera — with the help of two additional fish-eye lenses — right to your PC.
The feed from Yellowknife, NWT is available after dusk. Some relevant data about the cameras:
- Longitude 114° 21′W
- Latitude 62° 26′N
- Lens: 180° fisheye
- ISO: 500
- Aperature: 2.8
- Exposure time: 5 seconds
- Refresh rate: 10 seconds
So what causes this phenomenon? From CBC:
The bright aurora displays occur when charged particles in bursts of solar wind from the sun’s surface collide with gases in the Earth’s upper atmosphere. The energy resulting from these cosmic collisions shows up as billions of tiny flashes that, seen in sequence, look like green, violet and red dancing lights.
And according to the article, the “solar maximum” — when this colorful activity is at its brightest and most frequent — will occur in 2013 (originally forecasted for 2010). Happy viewing!
[Image: Natalia Robba / Flickr]