After two nights of photographing the northern lights above the city I decided to go up country, so I packed up the truck and headed out last Thursday.
Driving north through Wasilla I saw this Sundog light up, courtesy of a little row of (ice?) clouds. I pulled right into a parking lot to get this shot, about a block away from the Mug Shot Saloon (no I didn’t go inside). Up the road I saw another sundog on the other side of the sun but couldn’t find a place to stop. I got the one though, and took this as a sign that my photo trip would be fruitfull
By the time I got to Broad Pass at mile 200 it was time for a break. I am very familiar with this area having done a couple highway projects here, and I know the wind is usually blowing a steady 20-30mph. This night was nearly dead calm, wow! So I pulled off to the far edge of a truck turnout and settled in for darkness, readying my camera gear.
The show started around 11:30 with some wisps of light, then a classic green band arcing across the northern sky.
I had set up for a panorama, and just as I took the first pano shot I heard a truck coming from the south, so I waited for it to get near so I could see if I could catch it in the 15 second exposure. And here it is…
It was actually light enough I could see my cameras for a change, and the landscape all around! What a show!
I caught another truck wizzing by at 70mph, as the solar wind particles (mostly protons) hit the magetosphere some 55 miles above me. They then completing their 93 million mile journey since being blasted from the sun at up to 2,000 times the speed of a high powered bullet. The lights of the tuck just yards away and the Aurora lights of course hit my camera’s sensor at precisely the same time, don’t ya just love that Theory of Relativity!!
This show lasted about 25 minutes, then went into a very different mode of giant flashes of light at seemingly random locations, pulsating like I was looking up from inside a giant drum that the Aurora god was playing. This is the second time I have seen this, no way to photograph it, you just have to be there!
A couple more photos from this show…
Oh and that panorama, here it is…