This morning was the latest in the season that I have ever seen the aurora borealis. It also may have been the best display I’ve ever seen. I hiked out to Angel Rocks at about 8:00 pm to check the trail conditions and then spent some time finding the spot I wanted to wait. It was still quite a while before sunset, so I walked back down to the car to pack up the rest of my camera gear and some warmer clothes then headed back up. I found my spot and I waited. And waited.
The CME from April 22 arrived earlier than expected at about 3:00 pm Alaska Time, so I was certainly expecting to see the aurora. Midnight finally came and it was still a little on the bright side.
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My first glimpse of the aurora came only about five minutes later. A narrow band stretched across the sky almost directly overhead, running from north to south.
This band quickly faded into the twilight, popping out of and back into existence for a few minutes. At 12:44 am the sky started to light up.
Since the aurora was pretty quiet, I decided I’d just take some timelapse footage while I was waiting. Of course when the show finally arrived, I was kicking myself for not bringing a second camera and tripod.
It wasn’t until 1:15 am that there was suddenly an intense brightening in the band on the northern horizon. Some pinks started to show in the band and it developed intense structure!
Almost immediately a corona erupted overhead, followed by nearly the entire sky lighting up at once!
I could barely function. My heart was racing. The aurora was completely filling the sky, racing unfathomably fast. It was difficult to decide where to point the camera, and just as difficult to not fall off the small, granite rock outcropping the camera and I were perched on!
It was only 8 minutes. I was left speechless. A small band tried to form in the northern sky over the remaining sunlight, but it quickly faded to nothing. Then it was dark(ish).
I waited another five minutes, but there was only a very faint pulsating aurora overhead. At the very least it was going to take a long break. I packed up when I realized the sky was starting to get brighter. It was a very short night, but absolutely gorgeous nonetheless. A perfect end to the 2021 winter/spring aurora season. I look forward to the return in August!
The full photo gallery is located here: 2021-04-25. It will likely take me a few days to get all the photos uploaded that I intend to.