Phoenix Rising / Article from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Quantum World

last update: Dec 30 '16

Phoenix Rising / Fuglinn Fönix úr öskunni rís
Photo of an Aurora. Taken on September 24, 2015, 3:30am.

Image credit: Hallgrimur P.Helgason



I offer two Explanations:

1. Yom Kippur
According to Jewish tradition, G-d inscribes each person's fate for the coming year into a book,
the Book of Life and waits until Yom Kippur to "seal" the verdict.

At the end of Yom Kippur, one hopes that they have been forgiven by G-d.

The time and date this picture was taken was the ending of Yom Kippur 2015.

According to mythology,
a messenger is sent to G-d with the contents of the Book of Life,
at the end of Yom Kippur.


2. Astronomy Picture Of The Day (APOD) Explanation:
All of the other aurora watchers had gone home.

By 3:30 am in Iceland, on a quiet night last September,
much of that night's auroras had died down.

Suddenly though, a new burst of particles streamed down from space,
lighting up the Earth's atmosphere once again.

This time, unexpectedly, pareidoliacally
(the tendency of humans to see non-existent shapes in nature),
they created an amazing shape reminiscent of a giant phoenix.

With camera equipment at the ready,
two quick sky images were taken,
followed immediately by a third of the land.

The mountain in the background is Helgafell,
while the small foreground river is called Kaldá,
both located about 30 kilometers north of Iceland's capital Reykjavik.

Seasoned skywatchers will note that just above the mountain,
toward the left, is the constellation of Orion,
while the Pleiades star cluster is also visible just above the frame center.

The new aurora lasted only a minute and would be gone forever.