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Bellatrix's avatar

Have you witnessed a natural event such as the Aurora Borealis and can you describe it and your experience?

Asked by Bellatrix (21254points) November 13th, 2011

I was watching David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet and he talked about the Aurora Borealis and the Aurora Australis. I would love to see something like this and it made me wonder whether some jellies have experienced such a natural event and could share their experience with us. Not just what happened, but how it felt to be there and see such a thing. I imagine it would be awe inspiring.

It can be anything from the Northern Lights, to standing close to Niagara Falls or seeing Elephants in the wild.

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36 Answers

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have seen…tornadoes!

Bellatrix's avatar

So tell us more. Expand on it. I want to know what it looked like, how it felt to be there. You know I am nosey woman!!

whitetigress's avatar

I witnessed the ground moving in waves during an earthquake. I ran outside to my car, it was like walking on jelly sand, hard jelly sand. I was watching my car absorb the shocks and it was also moving like an ocean wave. Oh San Diego.

Dutchess_III's avatar

OK! There I was….there I was….there I was…INNN the cornfield…

Actually, you can feel when there is probably going to be a tornado. Everything just feels warm and the air is really heavy. So this one day we were expecting one and watching the sky. We saw clouds rotating in a huge, ponderous circle, moving to the north east. Then clouds began rotating faster and faster and tighter and tighter and that’s when we took off…..after it! My husband knew what he was doing, but I’d never seen one before..there were all kinds of people heading that way, including these loaded storm chaser vans. Then…. a beautiful, beautiful white tornado dropped silently out of the sky It was dancing like a graceful, sinuous ballerina. A rainbow arched in front of it. It was breathtaking and so silent. I had this insane urge to drive closer and closer, to drive right up to it. My husband said “no.” It was mesmerizing. I almost cried when it pulled back up into the clouds.

This guy got a picture of it here It’s just one of many pictures, of a lot of tornadoes, but do a word search for “Mulvane” and it will take you right to it.

rebbel's avatar

I saw a circular rainbow once, in Greece similar to this one.
It was quite spectacular, since it was my first, and only, one I witnessed.
We were in a pool and everybody who was watching was in awe.
I took pictures of it, but sadly they were lost after a computer crash.

Dutchess_III's avatar

@whitetigress “Hard jelly sand..” what a marvelous what-ya-call it! Imagery!

flutherother's avatar

I saw a little whirlwind one summer on Ben Lawyers. We could see it because it kicked up dust and debris. It moved up the hill towards us and then stopped on a small ridge just below us getting stronger and taller one moment and then shrinking smaller the next. We stopped and stared at it wondering what it would do next. It seemed alive as if it was watching us and then all of a sudden it collapsed and was gone.

whitetigress's avatar

@rebbel Those are beautiful! I’ve seen those

Dutchess_III's avatar

I’ve danced in the little whirl winds!

Bellatrix's avatar

I went whale watching over on the Western coast of Australia. You are legally only allowed to get so close to the whales but if they come close to the boat… and one did. I looked over the side and into the eye of a humpback whale. It just made my heart lurch. It was a truly spiritual moment. Staring down into the eye of this majestic creature.

Another time we were driving along the East coast outside of Sydney and there were two whales just playing in the ocean. We stopped and before long there was quite a crowd all standing watching these two whales playing together. Coming up out of the water and back down again. Bliss. Absolute bliss.

Earthgirl's avatar

One of the most beautiful things I have ever seen was dolphins playing in the wild. I was in Santa Barbara and the hotel was near this place called Butterfly Beach. One morning my husband and I went for a walk on the beach and off in the distance you could see the dolphins leaping up into the air over and over again. Someone told us that they put on shows quite frequently. It’s almost as if they know everyone is watching them. It was a real joy to see
Here is a pic of Butterfly beach

Dutchess_III's avatar

My husband and I went to Florida once to go to a funeral. My dad and his wife lived very close to the ocean. We were walking along the beach when suddenly a dolphin leaped, far out to sea. My husand…who’s a Kansas boy, born and bred…yelled “BIG fish!!!”

Brian1946's avatar

I’ve stood in reverence before what some claim is the largest living thing on this planet- the General Sherman sequoia.

I don’t know the dude in the pic: he’s just there for scale.

Bellatrix's avatar

Wow. That is one big General Sherman sequoia! Did you try to hug it… Beautiful. Thank you @Brian1946.

Dutchess_III's avatar

There is a plant that is almost 5000 years old..

Coloma's avatar

Oh, the Redwoods are amazing!
So is my area.

I just came in from a little wilderness tracking for Mountain Lions down in my ravine. :-)

Looking for deer caches, territorial markings of scruff piles & urine marking, tracks.

Yes, I have come face to face with a Cougar behind my barn, a stare down and it walked away into the woods. I love the exhileration of hiking in the woods and the delicious fear of stumbling across something wild.

I have seen another stalking deer across my rugged lower pasture from my deck.

I love Mountain Lions!

Came home at dusk cuz I ran out of Coronas in my pack. lol

wilma's avatar

I’ve witnessed my share of natural events and places. Some of them are:
double rainbows and circular rainbows twice.
The Aurora Borealis many, many times.
A full breach of a humpback whale.
Niagara Falls, (it’s scary to me.)
Being chased by a moose.
The splendor of the Great Lakes.
Isle Royal
Ice burgs
The Rocky Mountains
The Grand Canyon

laureth's avatar

When I was in college, I saw the Aurora. It was unusually far south, in a Detroit suburb, so it was quite a treat and the only time I’ve ever seen it not in a picture.

The pictures of them are so still, but they move. It was greenish, and reminded me of seeing rush hour on a freeway after dark, when you’re so very far away and it’s only ribbons of light. And it flows, like water but slowly. Very surreal. I just stared and tried to memorize it because I may never get to see the aurora again, you know?

wilma's avatar

Good description @laureth it does flow and ebb like waves. The colors change sometimes slowly, sometimes faster. I have seen it creep up the darkened night sky like it is being coaxed by an artist.

wilma's avatar

I have also often seen the Perseids meteor showers, Halley’s Comet, many eclipses and the Mikey Way.

Coloma's avatar


Oh yes! The Perseids!

I went waaay up into the mountains in 09 and it was spectacular. One huge trailing meteor grazed across the highway at about the 7000 ft. level in the Sierras..I almost ran off the road!

We stayed up all night til dawn! :-D

Dutchess_III's avatar

I have a picture of Halley’s comet that I took back in 89 or whenever it came through around that time.

I was substitute teaching in a 6th grade classroom and a full eclipse was going to happen that day. I quickly put together my own science lesson plan, and gave the kids hurried instructions, including taking notes, not just of what they observed, but what they felt.
Afterward I was reading the notebook and many of them said it almost felt like tornado weather, but without the heaviness…that crazy “something’s going to happen” kind of feeling you get. Also, things started throwing double shadows. The not-dark, the shadows….it was…surreal. Like being on another planet for a while.

Dutchess_III's avatar

This question is making my mind spark!!

Coloma's avatar


Haha..Iived in San Diego in my college years, oh yeah, one quake was like a wave that just rolled on through the house..we were all running for the door, every man/woman for themselves. lol

gasman's avatar

I’ve both seen and heard the aurora borealis—makes weird whistles and crackles. I once lived two months in Nome AK. (Nome is just below arctic circle—picture treeless tundra & the sun rising just a few degrees above the horizon.) Californians sometimes witness a weird phenomenon associated with rockets launched from Edwards at sunset, when part of the rocket’s high atmospheric trail gets illuminated by direct sunlight, causing a number of UFO reports or at least puzzled looks.

I’m sure we’ve all seen rainbows in many locations (they appear whenever you face water droplets with the sun to your back.) One spanned almost 180 degrees, many had double bows & rarely a 3rd bow is visible.

Saw a waterspout once in Tampa Bay, but I’ve never seen a tornado on land.

Fortunately there’s tons of videos on YouTube etc. for all of the above now. I assume.

Berserker's avatar

I’ve seen Northern Lights twice. Once when camping with my mom and her boyfriend. At first it was kinda creepy, but they looked pretty. I also saw them in the city. Around ten at night or so, a friend and I were in a park which was situated right besides my apartment building. We saw them, but they didn’t seem as pronounced as the ones from camping.
Apparently, Inuits had a superstition about Northern Lights. If you see them, never clap your hands, because the lights will come down, go inside you and kill you. O_O

Again, while camping…I saw a…how the fuck can I call this. Mosquito breeding session. It’s a HUUUUGE cloud of mosquitoes up in the sky. I was explained that they’re all male, except for one female in the group who will choose ONE mate in the whole cloud. Wow…this was in the evening, and there were so many that you could hear them humming. Messed up.

Not too long ago, I saw sunbeams. Those are weird. There were several of them, and I just couldn’t figure out what the hell they were…looked like alien spaceship beams. I think I even asked on Fluther, I dun remmeber…but those were pretty cool, but also really confusing, until I learned what they were.

bkcunningham's avatar

I’ve witnessed twin lambs just minutes after they were born. It was a snowy February morning in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains on a farm in Virginia. The farmer, a friend of mine, had been awake all night looking for the ewes so they wouldn’t give birth and the lambs would freeze and die or get eaten by predators. This one ewe made it home just in time for the babies to be born and for me to step in the afterbirth. It was surreal. Watching her try to clean them and get them to nurse and get them to stand, all the while bleeting her pitiful warnings to us while the sun was coming up over a ridge.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I just witnessed a 30 minute old baby…my son’s first baby.

Bellatrix's avatar

I am so glad I asked this question. So many amazing things you have all seen. I am loving all your responses! Thank you all!

Bellatrix's avatar

Aaah @Dutchess_III!!! Congratulations! So wonderful. That truly is a beautiful sight to see I am sure. A healthy baby [EDIT] GIRL!

Dutchess_III's avatar

Girl. Girl baby. Who looks just like my son did except they didn’t stick a pink bow on his head with Vaseline after he was born!

JLeslie's avatar

When I was very young I saw the aurora borealis. I didn’t appreciate how fantastic it was at the time. I find as I get older I am more in awe and more aware.

I have also been through a few hurricanes. Before the hurricane I am pretty calm, during I get more nervous. My husband is just the opposite. The one exception was when I was home for a hurricane by myself and had to prepare everything, I have muscle trouble and wound up in a lot of pain moving everything from the outside in and trying to make everything safe. It was very very difficult. I like as the hurricane moves in. I like how the rain bands feel just like how they look on the radar screen. It feels the same to me as when I approach a city and you see it grow before you. During the beginning of the storm it isn’t scary, so I can just focus on the whole natural aspect of what is happening. I also have been in the eye of a hurricane once. We went outside, a big no no. Many people in my neighborhood did. The eye was very large, and we had been couped up for hours.

I’ve been to the Valley of Fire outside of Vegas. It’s like being on a different planet.

The Great Lakes. Really beautiful. They can be as blue as the caribbean. Makes me think of how they were created, and the many many lakes in that region. I know more people who go boating in MI than I do in FL.

The Alps. Simply majestic. Tall mountains with pools of blue water at the base of some of them. Just incredible.

Niagra. I didn’t have much of a reaction actually.

Sunrise. I have only see a couple. I find it fascinating. The sky goes from black to indigo. I perceive the curvature of the earth, the fealing the earth is moving, as the sun comes up. To me it is a very “cosmic” experience. I feel very part of the universe when I watch the sun come up.

Fall up north. The colors are so vivid in the northern states of the US.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Beautiful descriptions @JLeslie. Thank you.

rooeytoo's avatar

A catagory 3 cyclone and it was terrifying! It sounded like a 747 was landing in the room with us. The noise was unbelievable. And they always seem to come in the night so you can’t see, you can only hear! The next morning walking out into the devastation was like another world.
In Kakadu you see so many amazing sights, water buffaloes wandering along the road. The whole place turning into a huge lake during the wet. Crocs in the playground because of the floods. Going out onto the flood plains in a boat and not being able to tell where the sky starts and the earth ends. Gliding through the tree tops in a boat. Catching barra so fast you can’t believe it in the middle of a rain storm so heavy you are afraid to breathe in because you might drown. The fantastic light shows during the storms at the beginning of the wet. More species of birds than I ever knew existed. Dingoes running wild through the bush. Rock paintings that are thousands of years old. Gigantic crocs in a billabong. Driving through the rivers and seeing crocs a few feet from your car knowing if you drive off the road bed you will be eaten. Seeing the water pouring over the falls in the wet. Climbing up to the top and swimming in the rock pools in the dry. Seeing the bush fires when it seems like the whole world is on fire and if there is a hell this is what it must look like. Driving for hours through the red dirt.

The list is endless.

laureth's avatar

It’s also interesting to see here, what people describe as awesome natural things that you just take for granted, yourself. I’m from Michigan, seeing the Great Lakes is no big deal for us – but I will probably appreciate them more, now that I know some people think so. :)

wilma's avatar

Oh and how could I forget Kilauea.

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