IT DOESN’T MATTER whether or not you’ve actually witnessed aurora borealis firsthand — you’ve got an idea of what it looks like: undulating cloud-waves of translucent electricity ebbing and flowing like some spiritual, atmospheric river.
Could your great-grandfather have imagined the same?
Technological innovation has given us so much utility, but perhaps one of its least considered contributions is its ability to transform our imagination, revealing to us that which we are otherwise unable to see. The photograph, the moving picture, broadcast television, the internet, data storage — this string of technology has enabled us to alter our preconceptions of what is possible in nature, and thus reality, even without us having witnessed it firsthand.
Here are nine other incredible natural phenomena you likely couldn’t have even imagined 100 years ago but, thanks to technology, you can now.