Dawn of the North
Hunting for the aurora from the mid-latitudes can be a frustrating endeavor. For every night that I've clearly seen the northern lights, there are 2 more where I've gone out only to see the aurora quickly fade or clouds overtake the sky. But perfect nights like this one make it all worth it. After NOAA issued a geomagnetic storm warning, I headed for the Bighorn Mountains. The aurora was obvious as soon as I stepped out of my car. But it was just a green glow without any structure or movement. At 12:30AM, the lights began to grow brighter. Pillars topped with purple and red suddenly rose up and moved rapidly back and forth. This is called a substorm. Charged particles in the solar wind causes pressure to build up against Earth's magnetic field. The magnetic field will suddenly 'snap' and the release of energy makes the aurora intensify. Substorms are unpredictable and often last only minutes. In this frame I caught a Lyrid meteor burning up above Steamboat Point.
- Kevin Palmer
- Image Size
- 5322x3548 / 10.7MB
2017, april, astronomy, astrophotography, aurora, aurora borealis, bighorn mountains, clear, cold, color, colorful, dark, geomagnetic storm, glow, green, irix 15mm f2.4, kevin palmer, lyrid, meteor, meteor shower, midnight, mountain, night, nikon d750, north, northern lights, peak, pillars, purple, red, shooting star, sky, snow, snowy, space, spring, starry, stars, steamboat point, streak, substorm, wyoming
- Contained in galleries
- Wyoming, Night Sky, Breathless: Winter in Wyoming, Northern Lights