The sun may be far away but when the sun has storms it sends charged particles hurling off in all directions. Sometimes those charged particles make their way to our atmosphere and the earth’s magnetic field reacts with these particles, and the result is the aurora borealis. A few weeks ago the northern hemisphere experienced a few nights of heavy activity from the sun. Reading the reports, I called up my buddy Jeff Currie from Outtabounds – bike and board shop and made plans for a little bike exploration mission with the camera and tripod.
Living on the prairies means a whole lot of empty spaces and places to get away from city light pollution. We waited until dusk to head out and the aurora forecast app was calling for some pretty substantial activity around 11pm. We drove south of the city to an area I’d biked before. I figured it would be far enough from the city lights that we might be able to get some good shots and still have some decent trails to check out.
We set up and explored a bit with the headlamps and waited for some aurora activity. It started out pretty faint at first and Jeff seemed a bit disappointed, as he’d never really seen a good show and I had hyped tonight up to being a good show. I was still optimistic that things would pick up, but I didn’t want to get our hopes up. We killed some time with a beer and I tried to get my flash dialled. Jeff rode some laps back and forth and I continued to tinker with my camera.
The night sky suddenly lit up like a match. The sky had light racing across it, flickering to the east and west. It was as if there was a big fire burning and we were seeing the reflection of it on the night sky. I got Jeff to ride past me for a few shots and then we both just stood there and stared in amazement as pillars of light rained down across the night sky.
I came back with a few shots I was pretty stoked on, but I have lots of ideas for next time there’s a good solar storm.