Archive for the ‘northern lights’ Tag

Aurora Watcher   7 comments

My screen name, Aurora Watcher, was given to me by Syun Akasofu, former head of the International Arctic Research Center, a foremost expert on the aurora. More than 30 years ago, I interviewed him when he was a professor at the Alaska Geophysical Institute and as we were winding up the interview, I mentioned having heard the aurora. He dismissed my claim, saying that there was no way to hear sounds from the ionosphere because it was so far from the biosphere. I was a journalism major and not qualified to argue with this great scientist, but I did point out to him that I had heard something on multiple occasions, sometimes with other people, and once my dog had heard it too. He kindly held fast to his science. We agreed to disagree.

Years after I graduated, I met Dr. Akasofu again. He immediately recognized me as “the aurora watcher”. Apparently, he’d had an experience when he had heard the aurora himself and he now believed that it could be heard, but he had not yet proven it scientifically. As far as I know, he hasn’t yet proven it, but the Geophysicaly Institute’s webpage no longer categorically denies that the aurora is audible.

I have a faith point here. There’s a lot in this world we do not understand and there are times when we want to dismiss what we don’t understand as not actually valid. I had heard the aurora, Dr. Akasofu had not. He said it wasn’t possible scientifically … until he experienced it for himself and then it didn’t matter that science still says it’s not audible.

In a similar fashion, God doesn’t make sense to us until we’ve experienced Him for ourselves. He doesn’t fit in our test tube. He won’t lay down on the examining table and let us dissect him. He doesn’t exist scientifically … or, more probably, our science is inadequate to explain Him.

I use the screen name to remind myself that not everything in this universe is immediately explanatory based on hard evidence. Sometimes, you just have to go with your experience and trust it will be explained later. Maybe. In God’s good time.

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