Northern Lights caught on camera in Switzerland in rare appearance
After the Aurora Borealis was spotted in the Netherlands and much of northern Europe this February, many people in Switzerland feared the weather had scuppered their hopes of ever seeing the Northern Lights in the alpine nation. Now, the Federal Office of Meteorology (MeteoSwiss) has confirmed that a stunning aurora was caught on camera in the skies above Switzerland on the night of March 16.
Aurora Borealis sighted in Switzerland
According to MeteoSwiss, a coronal mass ejection reached the Earth on Wednesday evening, bringing about strong auroral activity beyond the polar regions. Thanks to clear skies overhead, a strong aurora was visible in Poland, New Zealand and, for a very lucky few, Switzerland.
The aurora was most visible high in the Swiss mountains and in French-speaking Switzerland at around midnight, when clear conditions dominated the night sky. German-speaking Switzerland was sadly under a layer of cloud overnight, and while Basel was clear, light pollution from the city made it very hard to see the lights.
Cameras take stunning photos of aurora on Jungfrau
Indeed, for most people, like with the meteor showers and green comets spotted above the alpine nation, it was only possible to see the aurora using a camera. Some of the most stunning images were taken by MeteoSwiss cameras at mountains and ski resorts, especially La Dôle in Canton Vaud and on top of the Jungfrau.
Cameras set to long exposure times of around 15 to 20 seconds produced stunning images of the Northern lights - which are created by disturbances in the earth's magnetic field, caused by solar events like coronal holes and mass ejections. However, this does not mean it is impossible to see the aurora with the naked eye, with MeteoSwiss noting that in October 2003, the aurora was clearly visible in the Alps.
Northern lights to become more common sight in Switzerland
Luckily for all you sky-watchers out there, the Northern Lights are set to become a far more common sight in Switzerland in the coming years: MeteoSwiss confirmed that with stronger solar activity expected between now and 2025, there will be plenty more opportunities to see the Aurora Borealis in Switzerland.
To see the rest of the stunning images, check out the MeteoSwiss website (in French).