Northern Lights Shine On

Posted by Kelly on April 25th, 2012

Aurora Borelias

With the Sun more active over the past few months, aurora reports are picking up. There were so many “warnings” for bad solar weather for a while that I thought for certain I’d be able to spot the Northern Lights from my house without much difficulty. But every time I saw a notice of strong or storm levels from the Twitter user I follow (@Aurora_Alerts), it was daylight or cloudy. Like the boy who cried wolf or those annoying car alarms triggered by accident, I had become almost immune to the rumour that an aurora could be lighting up my sky.

Last night I logged onto Twitter and saw another alert, this time for a storm. I hopped over to the NOAA POES website to double check the activity and saw that the aurora oval was extending farther south than it had been any other time I had checked during daylight or cloudy nights. I went to the window to see if it was clear and I could already see a light blue glow ringing the northern horizon.

I took my camera and tripod out and decided to try my first ever photos of the Northern Lights. My camera is nice but not fantastic and I have very limited knowledge of how to use it properly, so I wasn’t expecting much when I set it up. I was prepared for the camera to refuse to take a picture or for all-black images, but instead, I heard the shutter click and pause, holding itself open for up to 10 seconds at a time as it captured photo after photo of the greenish ring and stars in the north. Considering the display was rather quiet despite its southerly extent, I was quite pleased with the results.

I went upstairs and found my daughter still awake. She was excited to see the aurora too, so I took her to the window and gave her a peek. She looked at it and said to me, “I bet it looks better in different places.” It was true. While it was still a pretty display, I’m looking forward to the next one where we can look straight up and see the glow and possibly curtains and columns and whorls dancing in the night.

One person has commented

James P Howard said,

What is the Lighted Stars, and whats brought it on..

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