Aurora, March 23, 2023

Aurora Borealis

Wow, that was a show.

The data looked ridicu­lous from the out­set. There’s one para­me­ter, when you’re con­sult­ing the ora­cle (sor­ry, the space-weath­er data), the Bz, that you want to be a neg­a­tive num­ber. I’ve seen great shows when the Bz was around ‑3 or ‑5. The longer it’s neg­a­tive, the better.

Yes­ter­day after­noon, every time I checked, the Bz was around ‑15. Crazy.

And the auro­ral oval looked like this. When it’s yel­low, that’s usu­al­ly a good sign. Red—that much red—is flat-out amazing.

The auroral oval from, showing a large red patch over central North America

So as soon as it was remote­ly dark—about 9 pm or so—I packed my gear and hit the road. I went to my favourite spot, about 15 min­utes’ dri­ve from my door, and got set up.

Aurora Borealis (first shot of the night)
The first shot I took once I was set up.

Then I looked around, and… The auro­ra reached from the west to the east, and it was even faint­ly vis­i­ble to the south, over the city. Above the city lights. That’s some­thing I can’t recall ever seeing.

I was there for over an hour, but it did­n’t seem like it. Nor­mal­ly to my eye, the auro­ra is a hazy cloud, or at best a well-defined, mobile cloud. Last night it was bright enough that I could see a yel­low­ish-green colour to it. And it moved like I’ve only rarely seen it, shift­ing and mor­ph­ing like it was alive.

Once the show died down a bit I got in the car and start­ed for home. I decid­ed to make a brief detour, though, to the agri­cul­tur­al research sta­tion at the edge of town.

When I got home, I noticed I could see the aurora—however faintly—from the back lane. So I set up my tri­pod one more time, to catch a cou­ple more shots.

What a show. What a ridicu­lous show.

Inter­est­ed in prints of my pho­tos? Let me know, and we can work some­thing out.