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celamity: (sunset)
Saturday, October 1st, 2011 08:15 am
Thanks to a coronal mass ejection, there was a lot of aurora this week. Unfortunately, it coincided with cloudy and rainy nights.

However, it seems the clouds did break up a little on tuesday night, and this guy was ready for it.

(One of his pictures from the storm is currently NASA's Astronomy picture of the day)
celamity: (sunset)
Saturday, September 3rd, 2011 12:09 pm
For six years, I have lived in the town with the world's northernmost botanical garden, which has collections of plants from arctic and alpine climates around the world, as well as a rhododendron garden and a collection of plants that have been used in people's gardens in Northern Norway.

Yesterday, I visited it for the first time.

Flowers! And a magpie, surveying its domain. )

(More photos at Flickr, 14 altogether)

One of the main features at this time of year was a collection of gentians in full bloom, but it seems I didn't get any pictures of them that I was satisfied with.

To my amusement, they did have a Persian hogweed (or tromsø palm, as it is known here) in the gardens, near the Russian section. Its flower crowns were cut off, certainly as a precaution: if the seeds were allowed to develop and spread, there'd soon be nothing else in the garden. They were imported over a hundred years ago by people who wanted them in their gardens, and are now the best known and most persistent local noxious weed.

There was construction work going on in one corner, where it seems they're planning on adding a collection of plants from South America, next to the African collection.

Having seen how the place looks now, at the end of the growing season, I am already looking forward to seeing it in spring and summer next year :)
celamity: (rose)
Saturday, April 17th, 2010 10:53 am
One of the larger Norwegian newspapers has arranged a webpage for people to post short messages, either regarding where they need help getting to and from, or where they can offer transport to and from.

People who have managed to charter buses are giving others a chance to join the ride. Truck drivers are offering their spare seats. Students are planning drives from Stavanger to London (incidentally: all those underseas tunnels, so you actually can drive from a peninsula to the continent to an island? Brilliant!). People are writing that they not only will share travel expenses, but that they will offer good company and music and so on.

If only people could pull together like this when times aren't adverse...

(I just heard a small plane take off. Northern airports are still slightly open, but I looked at an ash forecast and it seems it'll close up over us, too, before long.)
celamity: (sunset)
Saturday, April 17th, 2010 07:21 am
We were the first area to be shut down by ash, and now we're the first area to open again. The airport here and in the immediately surrounding area have opened again for limited traffic, mostly emergency stuff and a few small local routes. Four regularly scheduled flights took off yesterday, and they managed to get a plane of stranded people down from Svalbard.

I am also noticing that I am being far more pragmatic than the media, at least. While everyone who writes in about their problems, complaining that the airline won't rebook their tickets any earlier than sunday/tuesday/whenever, I'm looking at the ash charts and the still-active volcano and thinking that our trip to the US in three weeks' time may very well have to be canceled.

I'm a bit worried that this may be the final straw for some/several airlines. Prices may very well skyrocket when this goes over, and I suspect several routes may be cut.

Also, I hope the talk about Katla turns to nothing. While it'd be a fascinating thing to witness in my lifetime, the consequences of such an eruption are something I'd happily live without.

(We have smelled no sulphur, had no ash snow (just regular snow) and the skies yesterday evening (between the clouds) seemed no more red than usual.)
celamity: (sunset)
Thursday, April 15th, 2010 10:12 am
Due to the ongoing volcanic eruption on Iceland sending a lovely ash plume our way, the airport is closed and all planes are grounded.

It's a pity it's cloudy. I imagine the sunrises/sunsets would be spectacular right now.

(Article in Norwegian with graphic of the extent of the ash plume. They can't fly in Britain, either.)