With little to no snow on the ground I packed up my winter hiking boots instead of my ski boots and hiked slowly out to Angel Rocks (about 50 miles from Fairbanks). I had hopes for aurora, but was mainly wanting to nab a few shots of the Milky Way under the dark skies of a new moon.
The Milky Way. With a bit of aurora. And that fuzzy blob up and right is the Andromeda Galaxy.
It turned out to be quite a windy night. The air temperature hung around 0° F, so it was tolerable, even though it bit my face a little bit. After sitting on a rock for two hours trying to keep the tripod steady with the wind trying to blow everything off the rock I decided to start heading back. If only there had been a bit of snow I could have partially buried to tripod legs to keep it stable.
In the couple hours I spent out here in the howling wind, the aurora never did much. Ursa Major is in the center.
The show really started while I was driving home. As I passed the Granite Tors trailhead near mile 40 of Chena Hot Springs Road it looked like a giant drape was opening to the north. I stopped a few miles down the road where there’s a good pull-off with open skies to the north and south. Surprisingly, there was a good amount of open water here too.
Open water just past the Flat Creek Slough along Chena Hot Springs Road. The constellation of Orion Came out. Oh, the aurora borealis was also out.
Aurora bursts overhead from the bands that had been sitting near the horizon. Off Chena Hot Springs Road.
The full set from the evening is here: Aurora set 2014-11-21