Photo: Naming Auroras

You Can Now Name the Next Northern Lights After Your Loved One

News Astronomy
by Eben Diskin Feb 12, 2021

Giving chocolates as a Valentine’s Day gift is one thing. Naming the northern lights after your loved one is quite another. The Naming Auroras campaign invites people to submit names for different aurora/northern lights storms, each of which is different in character, and over 2,000 people have already submitted suggestions.

The Naming Auroras campaign, which launched in October 2020, was created by the Visit Arctic Europe organization to build awareness for the region during the pandemic and get people excited about traveling there once it’s safe to do so again.

The idea behind the campaign was to name aurora storms the same way other storms, like hurricanes, are named. The lights will be assigned a name when the Space Weather Prediction Center receives data on solar flares, high-speed solarwind, and coronal mass ejections that qualify as a new Aurora storm.

A few names have already been assigned to northern lights storms. The submission for Aurora Ellen, for example — visible January 20-22, 2021 — read, “from the west coast of Ireland, Ellen enjoys sitting in her conservatory observing the stars. She had her 100th birthday in December.”

To submit a name of your own and give the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day, visit the Naming Auroras website, fill in your information, suggest a name, and explain why an Aurora should be named after this person. If you’re lucky, your suggestion will be picked to represent a specific Aurora storm.

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