An astrophotographer recently captured a super rare weather phenomenon on a trip to Iceland. Taking to Instagram, astrophotographer Jeff Dai shared a video of rippling green aurora curls dancing in the night sky above the Kerid Crater in the south of Iceland. In the caption, he explained how the aurora lasted “several minutes” before disappearing. Notably, this extremely rare phenomenon is believed to be caused by vibrations in the Earth’s magnetic field. Experts say they are triggered by a gust of radiation from the sun, known as solar wind, colliding with our planet’s protective shield.
“Mesoscale Auroral Curls over Iceland. The view highlight the wave in the middle of the frame. It’s still a hot topic for the experts. The specialist told me that the formation of these curl-like structures may be connected with flow shear driven by ultra-low frequency waves. These curls are fine structures in the poleward boundary of multiple arcs formed by longitudinal-arranged field-aligned current pairs. It look like to the Auroral Undulations Triggered by Kelvin-Helmholtz Waves,” Mr Dai wrote in the caption.
Watch the video below:
Mr Dai shared the video a few days back and since then the post has accumulated hundreds of likes and comments.
“The view was captured when the aurora appears in the zenith which exists in several minutes. video taken at Kerid Crater, Iceland on Jan 16th. 2024,” the astrophotographer said in the caption.
According to the BBC, aurora curls are typically invisible and are usually only picked up using specialised scientific equipment, but if the right conditions are present then they can sometimes be visible.
It is unclear why this phenomenon takes place or what might cause it. However, some experts believe that the formation of curls comes from forces driven by extremely low-frequency waves. Some also say that they are caused when solar particles hit the large waves in Earth’s magnetic field causing them to vibrate.
Notably, auroras are created when highly energetic particles from the Sun bypass Earth’s magnetic field and excite molecules of gas, which give off coloured light as a result. Usually, these lights swirl randomly across the night sky with no definite shape or pattern.
Aurora displays have recently become a more common event because the Sun is experiencing a surge in activity. According to Live Science, the Sun is currently on the verge of the explosive peak in its roughly 11-year solar activity cycle, known as solar maximum.