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Aurora borealis couldn't catch UAA professor by surprise (+VIDEO)

Alaska Dispatch
Travis Rector photo

Did you catch the sneak attack of aurora borealis earlier this month?

On Oct. 12-13, a spectacular display of northern lights bathed much of the state in a cool green glow, with the aurora so bright it could even be seen amid the bright lights of downtown Anchorage. And that came despite a relatively quiet aurora forecast from space watchers at the University of Alaska Geophysical Institute.

Did Travis Rector, a physics and astronomy professor at the University of Alaska Anchorage, know something the rest of us didn't? Rector had cameras set-up outside overnight to capture any auroral activity.

This clip shows time-lapse footage over Anchorage, from 1 to 4a.m. Oct. 13. The footage was shot with two Canon 5d Mk2 cameras with Sigma 8mm fisheye lenses, giving a full hemisphere of coverage. The cameras shot 1-2sec exposures at f/3.5 and ISO 3200. This footage will eventually be used in the UAA Planetarium and Visualization Theater.