May 21, 2024

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Northern Lights: Here’s Why You Won’t See Them With The Bare Eye This Weekend

Northern Lights: Here’s Why You Won’t See Them With The Bare Eye This Weekend

In photos, the colors are striking, but to the naked eye, the northern lights visible this weekend were gray.

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“It is the structure of our eye that does this. In night mode, the human brain adapts its vision and switches to peripheral vision to save more light,” explains Olivier Hernandez, director of the Montreal Planetarium, in an interview with TVA Nouvelles.

To the naked eye, therefore, some may confuse the northern lights with clouds.



Screenshot/VAT messages

Once captured by a digital camera, a celestial phenomenon reveals all its colors.

“A digital device, a camera, always has the same ability to see this light and capture this light, so the sensitivity is better, and as a result, we can get more information than our eye can,” says Mr. Hernandez. .

New technologies in smartphones, including high-performance “night modes,” help make colors more vivid than the naked eye.

“The new smart phones are really very smart. They have an operating system with a night mode, so we can do the “stacking” that we do in amateur astronomy, so we can change the images very quickly, very quickly, in a few seconds,” says the director of the planetarium. .

Beware of artificial intelligence

Some images of the spectacular northern lights that have circulated on social media in recent days may have been generated by artificial intelligence.

Even Oliver Hernandez was fooled by some photos that showed impressive colors.

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“I caught on pretty quickly, but you soon realize it’s so perfect,” he says.