I . . . am an idiot, but look how cool this is!

Posted by lwpetersen | February 20, 2012 | aurora borealis, photo-blog
The aurora came out incredibly early, shining brightly in the twilight sky directly overhead.

The aurora came out incredibly early, shining brightly in the twilight sky directly overhead.

This night was one of the most incredibly gorgeous aurora displays I’ve seen yet. You should read Kate’s story about it, go do it, it’s a good illustration of my stupidity that I shall not mention here. I don’t know how Kate puts up with me sometimes, but I’m glad she does. Thanks honey!

It all started when I walked outside at like 6:30 pm (stupidly early) and saw that there was already aurora shimmering in the blue twilit sky. It wasn’t just shimmering, there were pinks and reds in it too. It was also directly overhead, not off to the north behind the trees. That’s a pretty active aurora.

It's starting to get a bit darker now and the color is really starting to show. Still light enough to see details in the birch trees!

It’s starting to get a bit darker now and the color is really starting to show. Still light enough to see details in the birch trees by our driveway!

Start to get the feeling that this will be a good night! The sky is lighter to the south (right side) because of light pollution from Fairbanks. I kind of like the color gradient it makes this time of night.

Starting to get the feeling that this will be a good night! The sky is lighter to the south (right side) because of light pollution from Fairbanks. I kind of like the color gradient it makes this time of night.

These next shots were taken from Ballaine Road down in the Goldstream Valley. A great place to view, but since it was so early there were a lot more people there than normal. Many of the people stopping to watch didn’t have the sense to turn their car headlights off in the parking lot, so there was a lot of stray light.

Clearly others had the same idea as I did. Well, that's no fun.

others had the same idea as I did. Well, that’s no fun. I’ll head off into the woods.

Watching the aurora down in the Goldstream Valley. Lights from the homes on the hill, some purple at high altitudes, brilliant night!

It was cool to see the aurora shining so brightly against all the houselights up on the hill.

Then, after a . . . ehem . . . minor delay we made it to the top of Murphy Dome. The sky had totally opened up, the aurora danced in and over Orion and the Pleiades cluster in the southern sky . . .

The aurora was very active on the horizon to the northeast. I almost missed that the entire sky above me was pulsating, with color! I've never seen any other color, but green with pulsating aurora. This was really filling the sky; you can see the constellation Orion bottom center, and the Pleiades cluster up and right.

The aurora was very active on the horizon to the northeast. I almost missed that the entire sky above me was pulsating, with color! I’ve never seen any other color, but green with pulsating aurora. This was really filling the sky; you can see the constellation Orion bottom center, and the Pleiades cluster up and right.

Taken in the winter of 2012 on Murphy Dome. I definitely drove our car into a snow bank on this lovely evening. Luckily the aurora stayed out long enough that even after all the digging, flagging down cars, and towing the car out of a ditch we still were able to watch the show.

I’m so lucky the aurora stayed out long enough that even after all the digging, flagging down cars, and towing the car out of a ditch we still were able to watch the show.

A few people near us packed up and headed back down. The sky was no where near as brilliant as it had been, so it seemed like a good time to head home too. By the time we were home there was nothing left in the sky over us. It was a good night.

There are plenty more photos from this night in my album: https://lwpetersen.smugmug.com/Date/2012/February/2012-02-18/

Blog Comments

That story was kind of hilarious. I would likely do something very similar. But my gosh, the view! So worth it!

The early evening lights were the best. The colors were so brilliant against a cobalt blue sky! I went to Nordale Rd to take photos and ran into the same problems with an overabundance of people and too many bright headlights. But all in all, I captured some great images as well. A beautiful show indeed!

Seeing the rocket launch was the icing on the cake.

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