Aurora Pictures

Many people take photographs of the aurora, and there are many web sites with these pictures. When viewing phtographs of aurora, one should be aware that the colors on the pictures are not necessarily identical as they would appear to the human eye. Many of the sensitive films have a slightly different color sensitivity. In normal scenes, this is usually not noticable, the films are designed that way. But the auroral colors are quite unusual, and demand much more from photographic film. Often, the red auroral light on photographs is overemphasized. A Gallery of aurora photos from Fairbanks, Poker Flat, and Toolik Lake in Alaska shows many example. This gallery also includes photos from the HEX and JOULE rocket experiments.

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Links to Auroral Pictures

I have a list of web sites with auroral photographs which I update frequently. If you have suggestions for additional sites, please let me know.


Auroral Movies

Because of the long exposure time that is usually required for auroral photography, making movies of aurora is not easy. Most movies use timelaps photography, so that the auroral motion is sped up when viewing the movie. Here are a few links, let me know if you have suggestions for additional sites.

See a movie of a rocket launch at Poker Flat.

Movie (280kB) This launch was on Feb 6, 2002, about 1 am. The PI is Craig Kletzing, University of Iowa.

4:00am (990 kB) and 4:40am (650 kB) These two rockets were launched on March 15, 2002. The PI is Kristina Lynch from the University of New Hampshire.


Aurora in Poetry

Robert Service has put his impressions of the aurora into several of his poems and ballards. Here are a few examples.


There are a few selected pictures which I took from my porch in the Fall of 2002 using a digital camera. Exposure times vary between 1 and 4 seconds, using an ASA 400 setting on a Canon G-2.
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Images copyright by Dirk Lummerzheim

This is a selection of auroral photographs taken during a rocket campaign from Toolik Lake field camp, north of the Brooks Range in northern Alaska.
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Images copyright by Dirk Lummerzheim

Here are some pictures which were taken for a Discover Magazine article at the Poker Flat Research Range (Seeing The Light Discover, July, 2000, by Karen Wright). Some have antennas in the foreground and some will show the green beam of the Lidar that was operating at the Davies Center. The Lidar has now moved into its own building.

Chatanika Aurora PFRR Aurora with Lidar PFRR Aurora PFRR Aurora, Antenna PFRR Aurora PFRR Aurora, Observers
Images copyright by Max Aguilera-Hellweg, used here with permission

If you were to visit Fairbanks in the winter, you often get a chance to see aurora from the airplane. Since the aurora is about 60 miles up, it is still high in the sky. If you want to look down on the aurora, you need a ride on the Space Shuttle. (Vistas you might have in the summer include North America's highest Mountain, Mt McKinley, also known as Denali.)
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Geophysical Institute Poker Flat UAF

Geophysical Institute - Poker Flat Research Range - Home - University of Alaska

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Questions? Comments? Please send E-mail to lumm@gi.alaska.edu