Sunday Science: Northern Lights - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Sunday Science: Northern Lights

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It's a phenomenon that many people have on their bucket list of "must see" things.

And this week, here in Vermont, folks got a shot at seeing the aurora borealis, better known as the Northern Lights.

Incredible photos started popping up on social media and captured our attention.

"My initial impression was that the view was going to be North. Right, the mountains over there. Right, that's just epic," Adam Hadlock says.

Adam Hadlock is right, that is an epic view in Tunbridge. But, it actually wasn't the best view from this spot, at least on Tuesday night.

Meteorologist Gary Sadowsky describes the particles flaring off the sun as burps.

"Those charged particles hit the Earth and around the poles they actually start glowing and that's what you're seeing," he says.

Gary says, the Northern Lights run on an eleven year cycle.

"It usually lasts for a couple of years. When it's at its peak it takes a sharp spike upward and comes back down again," he says. "We are at the peak, but it's one of the weaker spikes we've seen in about a hundred years."

"That's the funny thing about being here in Vermont," says Hadlock. "The Northern Lights are nothing more than a bright section of the sky. It looks more like a town is over the hill."

As Adam set up his camera, he didn't know what he might get. But, he knew he had a better chance of seeing it through this lens.

You may be wondering why a camera can capture the Northern Lights, but our eye may not see it as well. One of the reasons is that a camera, you can open up that iris and let more light in as you're seeing here, but with our eye of course, we can't do that.

"I had six second exposure, then I give it a two second gap for the camera to process the picture and then it takes a shot every eight seconds," Hadlock says.

It ran for about 45 minutes of continual snapping -- about 250 shots.

Which, when edited together, created a 25-second time lapse of the Northern Lights over Vermont.

"It was awesome! The pinks and the greens and especially those vertical white bars that show up," he says. "Definitely worth getting off the couch!"

While often the Northern Lights are dim here in Vermont, Gary told me about an unusually vibrant showing back in 2003.

Some of you may remember, it was right around halloween and Gary says, that was quite a sight!

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