John Metcalfe was CityLab’s Bay Area bureau chief, covering climate change and the science of cities.
Observe the northern lights from the comfort of your desk by simply adding hot coffee.
For space-weather enthusiasts, there’s perhaps nothing more disappointing than staying up all night shivering to watch an aurora borealis that never arrives.
But with this nerdy coffee cup, you’re guaranteed at least one show. Pour a hot beverage in it, and the northern lights appear on its sides in all their shimmery, green (albeit miniature) glory.
Here’s what ThinkGeek has to say about the magical, 12-ounce mug:
Caffeine. It makes us light up. It excites us. The thought of that first cup of coffee can really get us moving in the morning, literally and figuratively.
Much as caffeine particles pass into our bloodstream and make us bounce off walls, so, too, the particles from solar winds pass through the Earth's magnetosphere near the poles and share energy, causing a spectacular display in the upper atmosphere. When these particles collide with oxygen in particular at lower altitudes (up to 150 miles), the photon released appears green or yellow, giving a similar light show as to the one captured on this mug when you fill it with warm liquid.
The mug is not dishwasher or microwave safe, but that’s the price you pay for always being able to say you saw the lights.
Aurora Borealis Heat Change Mug, $14.99 plus shipping at ThinkGeek.