Northern Lights – February 1st, 2015

CJ watches the band disappear. The Bz component of the insterstellar magnetic field kept flipping north and south fairly quickly. The aurora faded in and out with it.

Jenn and I managed to do a bit of aurora watching in mild(er) temperatures early in the morning on February 1st. I had been keeping my eye on the real-time aurora cameras, and the northern lights seemed to be turning off and on like a three-year-old playing with a light switch*. It would only dance for a few minutes before fading and retreating to the north. We managed to catch one of it’s brief appearances around 12:30 am, but it only lasted 5 minutes before it was barely discernable in the moonlit sky.

We were awaiting the arrival of a fast solar wind from a coronal hole that was due to arrive anytime over the next day or so. Winds like that tend to give the magnetosphere a good kick, creating nice little geomagnetic storms that often mean good aurora viewing for us. The data wasn’t looking to favor us this evening, so we turned in early with hopes for better shows the next evening.

That worked out well for us . . .

Early the next evening a strong band was out, right overhead.
A little bit of light cloudcover, but it certainly wasn't blocking the view.
Aurora shining in the bright moonlight
Some low-altitude crimson started to shimmer at the bottom of the band as it slowly started to creep south.

Some low-altitude crimson started to shimmer at the bottom of the band as it slowly started to creep south. You could just tell that there was a lot of energy about to burst forth. And then it went . . .

Northern lights burst from above
Corona overhead
Crimson and green aurora overhead
Northern lights spiral
Aurora borealis dancing over boreal forests
Northern lights, Fairbanks, Alaska
Northern Lights – February 1st, 2015
The main band broke up, but a few bright patches of aurora still hung on.

It really turned out to be a spectacular night. I’m glad Jenn got to see such a show while visiting; Kate and I lived here for a months before witnessing something like that.

More photos from this evening here: 2015-02-01
My northern lights gallery

*This often happens when the Bz component of the interstellar magnetic field flips from north to south – south is good for aurora

Blog Comments

Wow….. what a remarkable photographer you are, you truly have the gift!! Thank you very much for sharing this with us! You are truly are a saint!!

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