7.27.2011

Aurora Timelapse

Norway has some pretty incredible night skies.


The Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, and our understanding of what it is, has a pretty interesting history. A hundred years ago Kristian Olaf Birkeland theorized the aurora was an electrical phenomena. He did incredible work in the field and had amazing experiments. However, because his theory went against the accepted ideas of the times, he was also a laughingstock among his colleagues. He was the first person to theorize that electrons ejected by the sun would get caught by the earth's magnetic field and be directed toward the poles which would light up the sky, exactly like electrified gas (plasma) in a glass tube does (neon lights).  Makes perfect sense right?  He died in 1917, age 50 "broken in spirit and in intellect, disheartened by the harsh reaction to his theory."  This sounds familiar, Nikola Tesla, the man who changed the world in many ways, the man who built and gave away the entire electrical system the world now uses (for free i might add).  Tesla died in a similar yet worse state.  Why do we keep letting this happen!?  Anyway, 40 years later he was finally vindicated by the soviet spacecraft Lunik 2 but NASA arrogantly dismissed it altogether, saying their data was "unreliable."  5 years later in 1966 it was re-proven by a US navy satellite, and over and over again ever since.  What we now know as the solar wind, was first theorized by Birkeland.  Can you imagine how much further along we might be if we had given him credence 50 years earlier?  Can you imagine what the world would be like now if we had given Tesla the time of day and maybe the resources to secure his vision?  Pride and greed have choked and stifled the advancement of the human condition as we know it.

1 comment:

  1. heya! lost your phone number or I'd be texting. The Batemans and the Ellises are coming over on sunday for dinner and we'd love you to join!

    P.S. half the stuff on your blog freaks me out. I will be having dancing squid nightmares tonight. and as always - your pictures are amazing!

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for the comments.