Earlier this month there was a high level of geomagnetic activity which meant that there was a better-than-average chance of seeing the Aurora Borealis at relatively southern latitudes. Although the weather didn’t look ideal, I figured I might as well take a look.
Unfortunately, the weather took a turn for the worse, with lots of cloud coming in. Additionally, the geomagnetic storm, which has been quite strong earlier in the day, had died down by the time it got dark on the west coast.
However, I was able to get this shot with the stars visible through the passing clouds. The moon was high in the sky, lighting up the clouds from above, giving some interesting texture. In the distance you can see rain falling on the mountains (the storm had passed over where I was standing about 15 minutes earlier).
The good news is that we are approaching a solar maximum, which increases the frequency and strength of geomagnetic activity, so there should be other opportunities for viewing the aurora in the next few months.
Two photographs, one for the stars at ISO 1600, f/2.8, 20 seconds, and one for the foreground at ISO 400, f/2.8, 80 seconds.howe sound night sky