Aurora borealis in Chambord: the story of a magical photo

Aurora borealis in Chambord: the story of a magical photo
Aurora borealis in Chambord: the story of a magical photo

In the right place at the right time. The photograph taken by Aurélien Charron, in Chambord on the night of May 10 to 11 around 1:30 a.m., created a buzz on social networks this weekend. We also saw it on several television channels. The splendid image has everything to become iconic: it shows the famous castle silhouetted against the night sky ablaze with the Northern Lights.

This geomagnetic phenomenon, caused by a major solar flare, was certainly predicted, but its scale was more difficult to predict. Aurélien had a hollow nose.

On Friday, the co-manager of 4.1 Production – a Blés-based audiovisual communications company – which is a member of the Météo Centre-Val de association learned that the probability of the Northern Lights would be high the following night. “On social networks, I saw at the beginning of the evening that things were starting to shine in Italy”he says.

Equipped with his equipment, he sets off to hunt for beautiful images, first in Beauce near Maves where the sky is set ablaze at 10:30 p.m. above the Lonlon windmill. “The light has turned purplish in the twilight zone of the sun, he explains. We could clearly see the power of the solar flare which crashed into the atmosphere. It was very interesting to observe. »

The sky was clear

The idea then came to him to go to Chambord. “It was worth taking a chance, he continues. A solar storm of this magnitude only happens twice a century. » Once there, dark, he is almost alone. The surroundings of the monument, which saw record attendance during this long weekend, are almost deserted. He only comes across two young residents of the village of Chambord, who are chatting outside their houses in the soft spring evening, near the Avenue du Roi to the south of the monument.

Aurélien Charron, on the right in this photo, manages 4.1 Production, a Blés-based audiovisual communications company.
© (Photo archives NR)

A moment of suspended time, which becomes magical when the Aurora Borealis appears, clearly visible. “After 1 a.m., the castle lighting switches to night light mode,” underlines Aurélien Charron. And in the middle of the 5,400 hectares of the largest enclosed forest park in , light pollution is non-existent.

“The sky was very clear, specifies the photographer. I had my camera on a tripod, set to long exposure, about 10 seconds. » If he admits to having “a little work” digitally the result, to attenuate the already discreet lighting of the castle, he ensures that his photo is very close to what he observed that evening with the naked eye.

A future postcard?

The next day, in consultation with the Météo Centre-Val de Loire association, it was decided to share this image on social networks and in different media – including The New Republic. “I am a lover of our territory of Loir-et- and I am proud to show Chambord in this way”confides Aurélien Charron.

However, the professional photographer remains the legitimate owner of the rights and plans, with his company, to market paper prints of his work. Posters or a postcard could also be considered. “We are going to hold an online pre-sale to see if people are interested”announces the co-manager of 4.1 Production (1) who has already won an astonishing business card in the affair.

(1) Email address: [email protected]

“A historic event”

> What are the causes of the northern lights observed in the Centre-Val de Loire as in a large part of ? “In connection with very intense solar activity, significant solar flares have been observed in recent days,” explains Florentin Cayrouse, vice-president of the Météo Centre-Val de Loire association. When this happens, solar winds move toward Earth and energetic particles collide with Earth’s magnetic field. This causes a geomagnetic storm and this one was particularly intense.”

> Classified “G5”, the highest level, it is the most intense geomagnetic storm in the last twenty years. “We have to go back to 2003 to find a storm this strong, so it’s still a fairly historic event. We must expect that other storms will occur soon because we have not reached peak solar activity,” notes the meteorologist, who adds that this type of high intensity phenomenon can cause disruptions on the networks. electrical, communications and satellites (and therefore GPS), beyond the formation of magnificent northern lights. However, despite the intensity of the event, no disruptions were recorded.

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