Once again, the skies lit up with the dancing inferno of the northern lights. The sun has been fairly active the past two months, but this is the first I’ve both been aware of and had a clear sky to see. All of the aurora events I’ve photographed have been special, and each one is different. This one happened to be the strongest storm when the K-index reached 7. It was so bright, I could make out the red band with the naked eye once my vision adjusted to the darkness. The storm peaked here a little after 11:30 pm on Friday, June 28, sending columns of light high into the sky. After watching the display for nearly 40 minutes, I decided we should move to another location where the view of the sky would be a bit more open. Really, I just wanted a change of foreground scenery. We drove south toward the Bethany Chapel where we were at the southern end of a big, flat field. The sky was still glowing, but the streaks were not as bright. The moon had risen above the horizon providing some light on the foreground, but I also wonder if the moonlight was competing with the aurora. By 2:00, with no new major flares occuring, we packed up and headed home to go to bed. It’s a good thing we did, the storm had subsided quite a bit.
This is the fourth aurora I’ve been able to photograph since moving to Idaho. Every time, I’m still amazed by the awe and beauty of this spectacle. I hope I never grow tired of enjoying these events. As we were driving to the Bethany Chapel, all I could think about were all the people we were passing who were totally unaware of the events transpiring in the sky outside their own homes.