I have a nightly ritual of checking everything on my iPhone in bed before I go to sleep, and more than once this has resulted in learning about beautiful auroras dancing outside that I was unaware of. I follow AuroraMAX on Twitter, and they tweet when the northern lights are out, and also give us a heads up about when solar activity is high, if there are solar storms, etc. AuroraMAX is a project by the Canadian Space Agency, and according to the website, “AuroraMAX is a five-year educational and public outreach initiative that features live broadcast of the Northern Lights from Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. The project is designed to raise awareness of the science of the Northern Lights, and how the Sun’s relationship with Earth can affect our daily lives.” Yesterday as I perused my Twitter feed, I saw this post:
Then last night, a tweet from AuroraMAX said “AURORAMAX ALERT • An aurora is now visible above Yellowknife, Northwest Territories.” I looked out our bedroom window and sure enough, a bright yellow/green aurora with blues and purples was dancing across the sky. Realizing the aurora season is just about over (Canada’s most northerly town, Grise Fiord, already has 24-hour daylight), Chris and I hopped in the truck and drove out of town. We didn’t really know where to go as most ice roads are now closed, so we headed on the Ingraham Trail. The images that Chris captured are amazing, because the aurora we could see was a faint cloudy streak in the sky, but the aurora his camera captured was something truly beautiful.
Further down the road, he photographed the old mine, minecarts, aurora and night sky. Two satellites happened to soar by, unnoticed by anyone but the camera.
Finally, aiming his camera straight up, he caught what is possibly the most real-life still image of the aurora. I love this one because you see exactly what we saw, necks craned all the way back, staring straight up with no reference point but the stars.
These three photos link to the full-size versions on his Flickr account, Photo-Gatto. Feel free to take a look at his other images he’s captured in the north, as well as some others, including the long awaited return of Rob Bott. :)