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Towering

Towering, aurora borealis photo from Alaska
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The "Towering" Experience

If I didn't know any better I would have thought I was on the enchanted road to Oz. The night of April 6, 2014 was that great and that powerful!

It was night #5 of the hunt and two aurora-generating CMEs (coronal mass ejections) were due to impact earth… but the anticipation was rapidly getting thwarted as thickening clouds rolled in and smudged the sky. I dove into a good book to help pass the hours. By 3 am I was just hanging onto that last strand of hope when the clouds began to turn green. The show had begun but it was barely visible! And then the good witch of the north granted a wish and a miracle happened; the clouds parted and the northland got lambasted by an hour of power as stunning northern lights filled the night sky with color.

I was on the road to Ester Dome, just outside of Fairbanks, and it was from this elevated vantage point upon which I was fortunate enough to seize this precious moment. At 4 am tall aurora rays erupted above a conglomeration of communication towers on top of the hill. A profile of a face materialized out of thin air and all that was missing was the booming voice of the Wizard of Oz telling me I need only look inside to the find the night vision for which I yearn. So I clicked my bunny boots three times...

Constellation note: The series of stars in front of the "face" of the aurora that form a backward-shaped question mark are the head and forepaws of Leo the Lion. These, too, appear to be looking down on a fairy tale miniaturized city. "Towering" sights indeed.

Photograph Information:

Year: 2014
Aperture: f/2.8
Shutter: 6 sec
ISO: 3200
Shot with a Nikon D800E using a Nikkor ED 14mm lens.
Todd