Tonight I had a great surprise and learned a valuable lesson as to why it’s somtimes good to stay up late, even on a school night.

I got the word of an aurora event tonight around 11:30 local time, and this was from people on the east coast. So I thought to myself: I wonder if I can see it here. I went outside and didn’t see any dazzling lights dancing in the sky, so I came back in thinking that either I missed it or I was just in the wrong place to see it.

But then I started thinking: what if the aurora is just too dim for the naked eye to see, but bright enoug for the camera to pick up? I asked my wife how bright the aurora usually is and she said it depended on the circumstances. Some are bright and some are dim.

I went back outside and looked to the north and saw that the sky was somewhat bright… like light pollution. But in that direction, there are no towns to produce light pollution. I got the camera out of the car and set it up on the tripod and snapped a shot. Sure enough, my suspicions were confirmed when the hazy glow turned out to be green and pink. My other suspicion came from a ray of light shining up from behind the trees, almost as if someone had a spotlight. Then the beam disappeared. It would reappear in different places throughout the night and the sky would vary its intensity.

I saw a freaking Aurora.