When Heaven Explodes, aka Aurora Borealis


The other day something extremely rare happened so I decided that it is my duty, as one of the witnesses to this and also as a photographer, to show you some parts of the whole experience. When it comes to night photography and aurora, I am a complete beginner, so while my quality might not be as good as the very best, I still feel I should share it with you. Also, since I do not have a top of the line camera, I have the cheapest SLR camera you can get, a Canon Rebel XS. In my opinion, if you are not a professional photographer you do not need more than 10 megapixel, and a big part of a photograph is in the eye of the photographer.

Anyway, enough writing about that. Now to the story. We had been backcountry skiing a ways outside fairbanks and bored as I was during the car trip back (around 3 hrs) I was looking things up on the internet with my phone. I found out that the Aurora was suppose to be extraordinary due to a specific solar event. All of us in the car were excited about this and a friend lent me his extra tripod. When we came home I was so tired but put my alarm on 12.30 AM...

So, one of the problems with the aurora is that it doesn't come out, until late, really late, and that is why I usually miss it. This time however, I got a text message at 11.30 from one of the friends saying "the lights are INSANE". Now, i was extremely tired, and had earlier sent my friend some pictures from the ski trip so I thought she was referring to the pictures having an insane light. I woke up again by my alarm, looked out the window, and sure enough the lights were out.


I started to mess with the camera, trying different settings.

And after a while it REALLY started


Aurora Borealis is pretty amazing, it turns and switches extremely fast, or slow and takes several different shapes.


One thing though is that the aurora usually only comes off as a small strand in the sky, sometimes larger, sometimes takes shapes as a circle, swirls but very rarely large (at least the ones that I have seen).

At this point you started to hear the Aurora, sounding very much like sparks. It almost seemed like the aurora was trying to reach for earth.


As I said, I am not used to the aurora covering large parts of the sky. After that it started to get extremely intense (see below). Next, the aurora switched form again and then, back to previous stage, although this time a little bit wider.


Started to widen and separate, and the next stage was swirling,


..increasing in intensity (both light and size) After that it seemed like it took a deep breath, breathing in


And then, breathing out, almost like exploding ...getting bigger and starting to curve


At this point I just had to go and get W, cause this was too big to miss. It started to center around a point again, ..Increasing in intensity again ..getting even more intense, larger and brighter (again)


This was really fascinating to me, I had never ever seen anything like it before. Extremely amazing, and INSANE as my friend called it. It continued like this for a while.. ...until it started to separate again ..decreasing in size


..and almost disappearing. Switched shape and position after this ...changing color ..switching position ..switching shape and position again And then...back to the aurora that I am used to see, just a thin band in the sky, as if nothing happened.


And that my friends, was 3 hrs of intense light in the sky. AMAZING. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did, even though you were just watching pictures. Have a great rest of the week.