Aurora borealis from space

22Jan09

12 years ago was when I first saw a real aurora borealis or northern lights.

I was between educational degrees, and pre-Mrs. Blog and I decided to take a roadtrip from Seattle to Alaska and back over the last part of summer break. School didn’t start up again till September, so to try as much to hit the shoulder season, we didn’t leave until August. What happened was an epic 24-day road trip in my little Mazda 323, which didn’t have cruise control, up north through the Yukon, with stops in Anchorage, Kenai, Denali NP, Fairbanks, Barrows (no, we didn’t drive there), Haines, and many other awesome places. Much of the awesomeness was because it was Fall there, and the colors made everything pop.

Here’s a shot with my old trusty Nikon N90s film camera of Mount McKinley near dusk.

Denali in the Fall

Denali in the Fall

And a rare spotting of a mother bear and cub. Apparently, it’s not usual to see them so low in the valley.

Mother bear and cub

Mother bear and cub

I have a couple more photos from that trip on my photo site.

Anyway, we were really hoping to catch a glimpse of the aurora while we were there, and only saw them a couple of times on the drive back down to Seattle. We were driving just past twilight, and I saw lights in my rearview mirror, and there it was. We pulled over, and just amazed at it. I didn’t even try to set up my camera in fear that I’d miss it.

So you’ve read so far and are probably wondering what the heck all this have to do with the aurora from space. Well, astronaut Don Pettit from NASA took a bunch of stills of the aurora from space and made it into a flipbook video. I thought it was pretty neat, so thought I’d share it. Unfortunately, it seems YouTube has prevented embedding this video for some reason, probably commercial, so you’ll have to click this link to view it.

Cheers!

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