On January 16, 2024, photographer Jeff Dai captured a rare phenomenon known as ‘aurora curls’ over the Kerid Crater in Iceland.
A rare and striking display of aurora curls was captured by photographer Jeff Dai over the Kerid Crater in Iceland on January 16, 2024. Dai, who is currently on vacation in Iceland, managed to photograph this seldom-seen auroral phenomenon, which showcased vibrant lights rippling across the zenith for several minutes.
Dai sought the expertise of Xing-Yu Li from the Institute of Space Physics and Applied Technology at Peking University to understand the intricacies of the aurora curls. Li likened Earth’s magnetic field to a guitar string, explaining that Dai’s photograph depicted vibrations in this magnetic ‘string.’ He estimated the wavelength of these vibrations to be several kilometers, a scale rarely observed.
Further insights were provided by Dr. Tony Phillips of SpaceWeather.com, who explained that such magnetic pulsations are usually only observable as mere squiggles on chart recorders. However, in this exceptional case, energetic particles from space traveled along the rippling geomagnetic field, causing it to glow with auroral light. This process effectively ‘wrote’ the wave across the night sky, marking it as an extremely rare sighting.
1 Rare aurora curls – SpaceWeather – January 27, 2024
If you value what we do here, create your ad-free account and support our journalism.