Like lotion, wash. – Mother Nature has been putting on incredible multi-day shows across Washington state, with the multi-day aurora event mixed with another spectacle of water glowing from bioluminescence off the North Coast.
“The past week has been filled with mind-boggling experiences of nature,” says photographer Matthew Nichols. “(Monday) night made me feel like the happiest man alive!!!”
Nichols went to Calaloosh Beach to find new examples of bioluminescence.
“(I) immediately noticed that the waves were glowing as blue as I’ve ever seen!!” He said.
But as he was taking multiple photos of the blue glow, he noticed that the aurora borealis began to appear – giving him a second experience with the glowing sky and glowing water in the same month.
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“So here I was watching the waves glow bright blue while watching the aurora borealis dancing in the sky,” he said. “When I looked down and noticed that I too was capturing the beautiful reflection of lights, I suddenly found myself living in a dream.”
Bioluminescence occurs when living things produce light, so they have the chemistry inside their cells, where their bodies have a chemical reaction that involves releasing energy that comes out as light that we can see, says Michael Latz, a marine biologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography through the University of California, San Diego.
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“The purpose of the light can be to attract prey, search for prey such as a flashlight, attract friends, or defend against predators,” Latz said. “Bioluminescence or signaling with light is a really effective way to communicate, and of course, in shallow waters like the coast, it’s something that happens at night.”
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What about appearing?
The Northern Lights didn’t quite end their shows this week, as they made a brighter appearance on Friday across the Northwest.
Nichols was up in Hurricane Ridge in the Olympic Mountains for this show, which didn’t disappoint.
What is the 11-year solar cycle?
The show was shown extensively, including in central Washington:
Solar activity has calmed down for now, but the sun has been active lately.
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