Even when our sun isn't shining, it can still give us reason to look skyward with wonder. A large coronal mass ejection from the sun that occured over the weekend created a brilliant display of aurora borealis, visible as far south as Iowa. Here in Alaska it was especially active, and with clear skies it offered one of the best displays seen in recent memory.
From sunset, the aurora was visible on the horizon. Faint and green, it could be seen moving slowly across the sky toward us at Eureka Lodge. A few hours later and it was right on top of us. Cameras pointed in almost any direction captured amazing displays of light. With not a cloud in the sky, the ribbons stretched 180 degrees.
As the night went on, the greens gave way to red, purple and blue. At times the entire sky was filled with light, easily overpowering the moon. Looking straight up we caught a glimpse of a rare coronal aurora, where the lights seemed to come down right over us. As a photographer, the intensity of the display had me scrambling to change settings so I didn't accidently overexpose the scene.
Contact Loren Holmes at loren(at)alaskadispatch.com