At this time of year, humpbacks and other whales in the northern hemisphere move powerfully toward warmer water. Humpbacks, which migrate farther than any other mammal on Earth, are rarely captured in footage with the aurora borealis, which is beginning to show up in the northern skies.

To see both at the same time, as Norwegian public television (NRK) photographer Harald Albrigtsen did recently, is pretty rare. The photographer said on the NRK website that he has shot the northern lights for years without seeing whales alongside them. 

In this video, humpback whales frolic in their strong but languid way, turning under the pulsating atmospheric lights. Albrigtsen got the shots off the island Kvaløya, near the Norwegian city of Tromsø, as Time reported here.

In general, the humpbacks in the area would have spent the summer in the Barents Sea to the north of Norway and Russia, or around the Norwegian archipelago of Svalbard, at the northwest end of that sea, as the Danish website ScienceNordic noted.

If you ever see a humpback and photograph its tail, you can look for  images of that tail later in other people’s online shots. As this Danish science website notes, each humpback’s tail is unique, like a fingerprint. 

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-Follow Catherine on Twitter @TreesWhales