It has been a while since I've been able to see the Northern Lights. Years in fact. Far too long.
My travels have been partly to blame, taking me too far south to view them. Also the sunspot cycle has made them essentially non-existent for a number of years. The final culprit has been light pollution.
Light pollution is the excess light that finds its way to the night sky. It's the worst in the big cities, where often only a star or two is present in the night sky. It is caused by all of the lights that we use to light up our streets, homes and buildings.
I was fortunate to grow up on the edge of a small city, and I could often view the northern lights from in front of my home. With rapid growth in Saskatoon, it's no longer possible when I come back to visit.
Big box stores with their giant lights, illuminating empty parking lots in the night are taking away our ability to enjoy the vast night sky. I wonder how many children have never seen the Milky Way with their own eyes?
This shot was taken north east of Saskatoon during the Perseids meteor shower that happens every August. I recently wrote an article about how you can easily find it and other awesome stuff in the night sky with your smartphone.
Shot August 7th, 2012