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On the evening of January 14, 2023, between 9:30 and 10:15 pm Alaska time, the aurora borealis put on one of the most magnificent shows I have ever seen! From what I saw of the online Geophysical Institute all-sky camera, it looks like it snapped back just before 1 am, but I was asleep by then.
Around 9 pm, I took the dog outside and saw that the clouds from earlier had cleared and that there was a little bit of dull aurora dancing and a light band to the northeast. But it was also brightening, all while the dog took his sweet time sniffing in the snow. As soon as he finished, I got a camera on a tripod outside and took a few photos, but the northern lights seemed to be fading.
I went back into the house because I had a lot of robot parts to collect in the Forbidden West on the Playstation, so I sat down with my controller and pulled up the GI Allsky camera on my phone. Within a few minutes, the sky was changing fast. Aloy was going to have to wait to upgrade her weapons.
This band lasted about 8 minutes while not much else happened in the rest of the sky. Many rays were shimmering in the band, like a picket fence.
At 9:30 pm, waves started moving through the band from east to west. To capture these rapidly changing structures, I pushed the camera’s ISO high to 6400 and shot 0.8-second exposures.
At 9:45 pm, the energetic band started moving across the sky to the south, passing directly overhead for a few minutes as it became brighter, sometimes oversaturating the camera sensor.
I don’t often do this, but I uploaded almost all the photos that I took over this sequence because when seen together, it’s possible to see how the structures evolve over time. If I had known that it would be such a good display, I would have run a timelapse. Oh, well. However, I did produce a short photo sequence that does somewhat show that structure evolution over the course of this hour.
There is a possibility for more decent aurora tonight, although unlikely to be as good as this. Unfortunately, the weather forecast for Fairbanks is mostly cloudy again. If the sky stays clear enough, I may set a camera to run a timelapse.