23 May 2006


Today, I attended a public lecture by Claude Nicollier, Switzerland's one and only astronaut. He covered a lot of stuff, including a summarised history of space exploration, his own experience in space as well as the future of space missions. He had quite a lot of photos (plus a few video clips) that you probably would never see in your life, or appreciate it without his narration and personal account of the feelings behind the photos.

One photo he showed left a very deep impression in me. It was a photo of the aurora borealis taken from low orbit. It showed the green aurora above the Earth, something like (but not) this:

The reason why it invoked such a strong emotion in me is because I have always been fascinated with auroras. They are strangely mystic, yet beautiful, and is a natural occurance. I have always wanted to look at auroras with my own eyes, but it only occurs more frequently in Alaska (borealis) or New Zealand (australis). There is no chance that auroras can pop up in Singapore's skies, simply because of the Earth's magnetosphere (a shield of magnetic field around Earth). Plus, the strength of the sun oscillates slightly (but enough to affect chances) with a cycle of ten years, and currently, we are in the lower half of the strength.

Nonetheless, I've promised myself that one day, I will see auroras. Personally. With my own eyes. I promise...

Rainbows dance in the black velvety sky,
Defying silence with its gentle cry.
A tango between the Sun and the Earth,
A shower of lights on a stage up high.

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