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    Stunning Aurora Borealis Over Śnieżka Captured by Polish Photographer

    Polish photographer Daniel Koszela captures a historic aurora over Śnieżka, earning NASA’s APOD recognition.

    On May 11th, amidst a rare geomagnetic storm, photographer Daniel Koszela captured a breathtaking image of the aurora borealis over Śnieżka, the highest peak in the Karkonosze Mountains. The photo, taken spontaneously, was honored as NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) on June 12th.

    Explanation: It was the first time ever. At least, the first time this photographer had ever seen aurora from his home mountains. And what a spectacular aurora it was. The Karkonosze Mountains in Poland are usually too far south to see any auroras. But on the amazing night of May 10 - 11, purple and green colors lit up much of the night sky, a surprising spectacle that also appeared over many mid-latitude locations around the Earth. The featured image is a composite of six vertical exposures taken during the auroral peak. The futuristic buildings on the right are part of a meteorological observatory located on the highest peak of the Karkonosze Mountains. The purple color is primarily due to Sun-triggered, high-energy electrons impacting nitrogen molecules in Earth's atmosphere. Our Sun is reaching its maximum surface activity over the next two years, and although many more auroras are predicted, most will occur over regions closer to the Earth's poles.

    Despite heavy clouds over the Jeleniogórska Valley, Koszela noticed clear skies above the Czech side and decided to attempt the climb. After a two-hour trek with his 12-15 kg photography gear, he reached the summit just in time to witness a rare light show, including luminous pillars and vivid auroras visible all night.

    A Photographer’s Journey

    Koszela, a professional photographer for 12 years, has a diverse portfolio including landscape, drone, and astrophotography. His accolades include first place in the Siena Drone Awards 2022 and third place in the Insight Investment Astronomy Photographer of the Year 2020.

    APOD has recently featured several Polish photographers, highlighting the growing recognition of their contributions to astronomy and photography.

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