Northern Lights In Vancouver?!


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At 11pm on October 3, 2015, I was taking some long exposure photographs of star trails at Porteau Cove just outside of Vancouver, Canada, when I saw what looked like search lights rising from Squamish to the North. As I watched, the lights began travelling across the sky in a curtain of colour. To my delight, I was witnessing the northern lights mere minutes outside of the city of Vancouver!

The northern lights, also known as Aurora Borealis, occur when currents of highly-charged electrons from the solar wind flow along lines of magnetic force into the earth’s polar region and collide with oxygen and nitrogen elements in our atmosphere.

Although the northern lights are not normally seen as far south as Vancouver, it is possible during times of greater solar flare activity. The sun has an 11-year flare cycle and although we’re now on the decline, there are still great opportunities to witness this magical light event.

If you are interested in shooting the northern lights, keep an eye on the Aurora Forecast posted by the Geophysical Institute of the University of Alaska Fairbanks for an up-to-date display of auroral activity in your area.

Check out my Star Trails & Constellations gallery to see more images and order prints.

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