A flash of Green – St. Patrick’s Day Geomagnetic Storm

Aurora Borealis Time Lapse
A short little time-lapse of irregularly timed shots (with some variations of exposure time – those annoying brighter frames I might completely remove in a future edit) of the awesome display of the aurora borealis. Although still nearly invisible to the naked eye from where I was, at times I could definitely see a glow if I’d simply been looking for an extended period of time, rather than fussing with the camera. This was the first time I’d ever managed to capture distinct curtains and blobs of light, shifting unpredictably all across the horizon. I was absolutely in awe of the speed of the fluctuations, it reminded me more of a candle’s flame, being violently beaten by the wind. In truth, this is not far from that – the displays are epic swaths of solar wind buffeting the atmosphere of our planet. It was so spazzy!

I’d set out to see what I could photograph earlier in the night, but was dismayed to see only a faint greenish haze in the distance. I kept an eye on the Aurora Forecast, hoping that we would eventually roll into the activity as the hours passed. The intensity and reach of the event pictured below gave me hope.

James was a bit skeptical, but I insisted that I go out again later in the night – the activity was nearing, but so, so slowly! I threw on my sweater and jacket, plopped a hat on my head and slipped my boots on. I was also a little but skeptical that I’d see anything different than what I had earlier in the night but set my tripod and camera up anyways. Standing by the road and looking out towards Victoria, I knew my eyes were picking something up, but I focused on the pictures instead, knowing I wouldn’t be able to make out anything very well – even if I stood there in complete darkness for several minutes. I took the first exposure and waited for the image to process in camera and crossed my fingers. The LCD camera back flashed and I quickly glanced at the resulting exposure. I was surprised and delighted to see clear shafts of green light!
Auroratimelapse-3 Auroratimelapse-4

James came out to see what I was getting in camera and told me a bit about his experiences with displays many years ago, describing the speed and intensity of the light. I can’t get my head around it! It only makes me VERY eager to get up North to get better photos of more intense displays (although this certainly doesn’t count as a weak display by ANY means!) I really hope that James and I can get out there and see it from where the real action is in the future.

Anyhow, this was the map as I got into bed after finishing the photo session. It’d slowed down a lot, and it was quite late, so…we committed to calling it a night.

Displaying aurora-forecast-northern-hemisphere-3.png

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