A Most Excellent Adventure
Kiruna, Sweden
January-March 2000

(click on pictures to enlarge)

The Kiruna Sky

The Kiruna sky is abundant with color mainly through the polar stratospheric clouds (PSC's) that are unique to the polar regions.  Below are some of the pictures that I was able to get of these clouds.  Picture A was taken mid afternoon, while pictures B and C were taken early evening.  Picture D through I were taken at noon.  These clouds are referred to locally as "mother of pearl" clouds.  The PSC's are very high and we think they are made up of tiny crystals that refract the light like little prisms thus the beautiful colors.


In addition to daytime sky majesty, the night sky in Kiruna  has a splendor of its own in the form of Aurora Borealis.  Pictures A through E show some of this night time splendor caused by high energy particles from the sun being concentrated in the polar regions as they spiral down the field lines.  These particles contact molecules in the upper atmosphere where they cause a photon to be emitted causing the brilliant colors.