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
Con­tin­ue read­ing “Auro­ra, March 23, 2023”

Clouded Aurora

After I watched the new Top Gun talkie, I checked the data in my auro­ra app while I was still in the park­ing lot. It looked good[1]The Bz read­ing was ‑11, where the fur­ther into the neg­a­tive, the bet­ter; I usu­al­ly see a decent show if it’s at ‑4 or so., so I hur­ried home, grabbed my gear, and went out of town.

Unfor­tu­nate­ly it was cloudy to the north. I set up any­way, hop­ing the clouds would move off, and start­ed snap­ping photos.

Long sto­ry short: the clouds did­n’t move off. I gave it about 45 min­utes, and then packed up and went home.

Here’s a time­lapse of about 20 min­utes’ worth of my attempts. Each frame is a 10-sec­ond exposure. 

And here’s a hand­ful of my favourites from the pho­tos I got. (I think I caught a mete­or in the first one, on the far left.)


1 The Bz read­ing was ‑11, where the fur­ther into the neg­a­tive, the bet­ter; I usu­al­ly see a decent show if it’s at ‑4 or so.

Aurora at the end of March

Aurora, March 30th, 2022

The auro­ra data looked good and the sky was clear, so I packed up my camera—grabbing, at the last minute, my 50mm lens, think­ing I’d maybe get some shots of Ori­on with it—and head­ed out to find a dark spot.

10 min­utes north­west of town, I stopped on the side of a grav­el road and got set up. There was a faint haze to the north which, to the cam­era, was green (my eye saw it as grey). The data showed that there should be a bit more activ­i­ty in about a half hour, so I start­ed snap­ping pho­tos. Ini­tial­ly I was tak­ing pho­tos at 10 sec­ond expo­sures. As the night wore on I dropped that to 5 sec­onds, then 2.5 and final­ly 2. (I took a few frames at 1 sec­ond with my f/1.8 lens, but they were a lit­tle dark­er than I like.)

Here’s the results.

It was even vis­i­ble in town, if you knew what you were look­ing at. This pho­to was tak­en on my street, just before I went back in the house.

Aurora, March 30th, 2022
It was even vis­i­ble in town.
A short timelapse
Panorama of aurora

Added: I took a few pho­tos for a panora­ma to show how wide the show was. This stretch­es from the west to the east; the road vis­i­ble on the far left and the far right is, in fact, the same road.

Some faint aurora

It’s been a while since I went out chas­ing auro­ra. Tonight the clouds stayed away, and the tem­per­a­ture, while chilly, did­n’t feel like it was going to kill me. I got a cou­ple shots of the auro­ra, faint and hug­ging the north­ern horizon…

…and also an hour or so’s worth of star trails, includ­ing what looks like an irid­i­um flare. (It looks like my cam­era moved at some point ear­ly in the hour. I did­n’t jos­tle it; maybe the wind shift­ed it slightly.)

Star Trails

Aurora, April 16, 2021

Aurora borealis

Last night I took a dri­ve, and got some shots of a dif­fuse auro­ra bore­alis on a back road a few miles out­side of town.

I shot for about ½ hour between 11 and 11:30 pm, and made a short time­lapse video, too. Each sec­ond of video is about a minute in real-time.

I like how the clouds oblig­ing­ly fol­low the line of the pow­er lines

And then, when I came back to town, I decid­ed to get a few shots of the old Kull­bergs ware­house demo­li­tion going on at 18th Street and Pacif­ic Avenue. The pho­to below is an HDR merge of two pho­tos, to try to bal­ance the bright­ness of the exte­ri­or with the dark­ness of the interior.

Kullbergs Warehouse demolition
Things fall apart / the cen­tre can­not hold