Auroras imminent tonight. It’s a bold statement considering the way the aurora forecasts go. The data right now is insanely wonderful for a show tonight in Alaska, Canada, and many northern states. Also, New Zealand, southern Australia, Antarctica. If you are in a big city or in an area where the weather is poor, it is worth it to drive out somewhere to see the lights.
The Kp level all day has been fluctuating around Kp 8 all day (Europe’s night). Last night in Alaska the Kp level was 6. The Kp level as of this post at 450pm Alaska time is Kp 7. AS SOON AS IT IS DARK in your area, HEADS UP for auroras!
UPDATED: NOAA downgraded the storm from G4 to G2, which is still pretty good for auroras.
How to view the aurora:
If you cannot see it overhead, look north. Always know which way is north. Look low, close to the ground, if you cannot see it high in the sky.
If you cannot see any stars, or your photos are all washed out when trying to capture the stars, you might be in a big city with too much light pollution. Head out to a darker area that has a view toward the north. Some areas may see auroras even with light pollution.
Map your route at home. While driving, dim your dash lights, refrain from looking at your phone (dim your screen), try not to use interior lights. Keep your eyes adjusted to the night.
This photo was taken with my cheap point and shoot camera.
To take pictures of the aurora, you do not need a fancy expensive camera. You only need a camera with manual settings. Asking how to take a picture during an aurora show is not the time to learn your camera. The newest smartphones can capture the aurora, but not as great as some photos you may see online.
—- Start off by putting your camera in manual mode. ISO 800, shutter speed between 10-15″, auto white balance, focus to infinity (a setting on point and shoots or a dial on your lens). Practice your focus on a star. Use a tripod. Can’t help you any more if you don’t use a tripod! 2 second delay. These are the basic settings. You can change it up from there. Go ahead and try it out when it gets darker. Take a photo of a distant light such as a car driving by or a far away streetlight.
—–There are many websites with advanced guidance on shooting the northern lights. Here are several links: Camera Settings on ABN