National / Science & Health

Aurora borealis spotted in Japan for first time since 2004

Kyodo

The aurora borealis has been photographed by an astronomical observatory in Hokkaido — the first time in 11 years the northern lights have been observed in Japan.

According to the Nayoro Municipal Observatory in Hokkaido, staffer Katsuhito Nakajima succeeded in taking an image of the aurora between 12:30 a.m. and 4:20 a.m. on Wednesday.

“I was hoping to capture it since the solar activities had increased recently,” Nakajima said. “I’m excited to see it at last.”

Nakajima’s picture shows parts of the dark sky around the mountains turning slightly red.

The last time the aurora was observed in Japan was in November 2004, in the nearby town of Shimokawa, Hokkaido.

The aurora borealis is generally seen at latitudes farther north. It’s caused by charged particles, mainly electrons and protons, entering the atmosphere.