Aurorae at Summer Solstice

(The Great Solstice Aurora from Alan Dyer on Vimeo).

The Sun flared late last week and sent a series of coronal mass ejections in our direction. The high-speed charged particles smacked into the Earth’s upper atmosphere on June 22, 2015, and ignited aurorae borealis as far south as Georgia and Virginia, for example. The deep-southern hemisphere had fine shows of aurorae australis as well. If you missed these splendid vistas, the striking timelapse by astrophotographer Alan Dyer will give you a taste of the intensity and color of the display. Dyer is a master of nightscape and timelapse photography, and when he learned of the possibility of a striking auroral display, he packed his equipment and set to work. He wrote of his impromptu timelapse project on the night of summer solstice:

For the June 22 outbreak of Northern Lights across the sky, I shot some 2,200 frames, and assembled them into the time-lapse compilation here.

One sequence records the entire sky and the complete development of the display, from when it first appeared in twilight about 11:15 p.m., to when it faded into a diffuse glow across the sky by 1:15 a.m. I shot that sequence with an 8mm fish-eye lens, to capture a scene suitable for projection in a digital planetarium theatre.

I shot the other sequences with 15mm and 24mm lenses. All total, the 3-minute movie comes from about 50 gigabytes of images.

You can learn more about how to take excellent nightscape images and assemble them into timelapse video in Alan’s comprehensive e-book on the subject.

The stupendous auroral display was also visible from space, and astronaut Scott Kelly captured and tweeted this stirring video from the International Space Station:

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