Saturday, March 12, 2011

Northern Lights, Show Time!

Photographing the Northern Lights is a challenging commitment. While sunrise and sunset is predictable, the Northern Lights may appear any time during a long dark night, normally late night to early morning. Sometimes, even when the sky is clear and the "Aurora Forecast" says "Active" the lights still don't appear... I continued checking the north sky during the long cold, sub zero, nights without success. I began to wonder if I really would see the spectacular Aurora show this winter?
In early February, the amazing Auroras were on display for 2 nights. It began in the early evening on Feb 4th. A green arch appeared in the north sky over a mountain. The arched lights moved very slowly and stayed for a long while. Suddenly the left end of the arch curled into a small circle! Then a White green flame of lights appeared from behind the mountain at the right end of the arch, amazing!!

The "show" continued all night... At its peak, a wide neon green ribbon of light moved through the zenith while another wide green line moved in the northern side of the sky... and large white, milky way like, lights filled the southern the sky! What a spectacular light show, illuminating the entire sky!

On Feb 5th I went up the mountain. I was rewarded with an arch in the northern sky early in the night. Then large flames of bright lights appeared from the horizon to the west ... the lights moved like a big fire reaching up to the zenith.
The tip of the lights were swirling fast over my head! Next a light, resembling the head of a snake, emerged from the large swirl and raced across the sky! It all happened unbelievably fast!
Soon, another curtain of fast waving lights came out of the northern sky. In this appearance the lights were literally "Dancing Lights." Active Auroras coming and going, like a huge fire in the sky, waving and dancing, curtain call, after curtain call, entertaining, amusing and amazing their audience for hours.
Slowly, the dancing lights disappeared leaving faint sheets of light spread out all over the sky, Lighting up even the southern sky, allowing me the rare opportunity to see the Aurora with Orion.