Aurora Borealis – the Northern Lights

Nikon Coolpix 4500, 32sec, ISO4200, Wide angle converter, NR off

Nikon Coolpix 4500, 60sec, ISO400, Fish Eye converter, NR on

This image was featured in the Gallery section of the March 2004 issue of Sky & Telescope

After being alerted to a major solar eruption from various newsletters and mailing lists, I was quite disappointed with the weather prospects for the following night!

Even though cloud cover was 100%, and it was still raining, I decided to take my digital camera, the serial cable, the laptop computer and a small tripod with me, when I headed off to an evening meeting.

When leaving the building at 10 p.m. the rain had stopped, but it was still clouded over. Inspite of the conditions I drove to my favorite observing location (Oberbildstein), searched for a place with a good northern horizon and waited…

After a little while some stars were visible in the Zenith. I constantly watched the northern horizon but couldn´t make out any glow. So I started some all-sky images with the Nikon fisheye adaptor.

On the 3rd image I noticed a red glow in the northern direction!!

Some minutes later the aurora was plainly visible to the naked eye and I was thrilled to see white and red curtains of light, slowly changing in form and brightness. Sometimes rays of light were visible. During this time I took some images with the camera controlled by the computer.

It didn´t last long… When I could not see the aurora anymore, I decided to do some more full-sky images. I was astonished to see the aurora still visible on this 40sec. exposures…

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  1. Pingback: The Great Aurora Display of 2024 - Philipp Salzgeber photography

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