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Solar storm over Europe

20 May 2024

Stuck in China for the last few days, I've been unable to share the amazing spectacle I witnessed during my night flight on May 10th, 2024, on social media. Despite the risk of being late to the worldwide aurora party, I still felt it was worth sharing the aerial wonders of last weekend.

Taking off just after midnight from Belgium for a long ride towards the Orient, the skies soon turned green and purple as far as I could see. Not as bright as they sometimes come, but it was clear the aurora borealis was putting on an unprecedented show tonight. All the way to the city of Baku in Azerbaijan (located as far South as 40°22' N), the aurora borealis was visible on the far north to me flying at 33,000 ft, indicating the strength of this solar storm.

Needless to say, I got my camera out, and it was amazing to see how much of the sky was illuminated by the red and purple spectrum, often invisible to the human eye but now clearly showing up on the resulting images and at times flaring up in front of my 747 cockpit windows as well.

Truly captivating, and I'm grateful that many others have also had the privilege to witness these magical polar lights. A gentle reminder of the absolute beauty of the universe we all live in.

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