We saw the Aurora Borealis!

Ms. Callaghan’s Classroom

Jil Callaghan is a 6th grade science teacher at Houck Middle School in Salem, Oregon. She is posting blogs for her students while aboard the Research Vessel Sikuliaq as part of a teacher at sea program through Oregon State University. 

Seeing the Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights) is something that was on everyone’s checklist of things they wanted to do in their lifetime.  It was definitely on my list, so I eagerly headed up to the deck outside the bridge when Katie knocked on my door and woke me up the other night just before 1 a.m. …”We’re up on the bridge looking at the aurora!”  As I stepped outside, I looked up and saw swaths of glowing green spread across the sky, visible even with a bright moon shining too…it was amazing!  Parts of the sky would grow brighter, and fade a little, then another section would grow brighter…it was a truly incredible sight!  Due to so many days of cloud cover, we weren’t sure we would actually have a chance to see them… and we’re very glad we did.  The only thing left on our list now is to see a narwhal.

aurora and moon.jpg
Green auroras are caused by electrons hitting oxygen atoms, but if the oxygen atoms are higher up in the atmosphere, they will glow red instead. Photo by Scott Myers
aurora group shot.jpg
From left to right: Scott, Aaron, Carrie, Selina, Kylie, Me (Ms. Callaghan), Kim, Katie, Brianna, and Jenna. Photo by Scott Myers

auroras-borealis-australis-northern-southern-lights-120404d-02 2.jpg

Illustration credit: aurorasaurus.org

See Ms. Callaghan’s other posts here.


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