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Jan 15, 2020

Seeking Magic and Solace in the Northern Lights

Chasing that perfect shot of the aurora gave Hugo Sanchez a new sense of purpose. (Photo: Hugo Sanchez)
Chasing that perfect shot of the aurora gave Hugo Sanchez a new sense of purpose.

Ask scientists about the Aurora Borealis, and they’ll explain that the spectacular display of lights we see in the wintertime sky is caused by solar winds that send charged particles into the earth’s upper atmosphere, where they smash into gases. But witness this otherworldly show yourself, and ancient beliefs about magic often feel more true. It was the magic that mattered to Hugo Sanchez, a self-taught photographer who fled civil-war-torn El Salvador and moved to Canada. But tragedy followed him, and it was chasing that perfect shot of the aurora that gave him a new sense of purpose.

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Outside’s longstanding literary storytelling tradition comes to life in audio with features that will both entertain and inform listeners. We launched in March 2016 with our first series, Science of Survival, which was developed in partnership with PRX, distributors of the idolized This American Life and The Moth Radio Hour, among others. We have since expanded our show and now offer a range of story formats, including interviews with the biggest figures in sports, adventure, and politics, as well as reports from our correspondents in the field.