Anchorage Aurora, 2014

There is a new program offered by NOAA which predicts the aurora.  It has a global projection and shows, based on colors, where the Aurora will be in 20 minutes.   I sat in my hotel room watching the map on the tool and when it looked like the Aurora would be out I went out to Earthquake Park.  I got there and within 10 minutes had the Aurora to watch and photograph.  Worked for me. Here is the link.

As I sat there from about 12:30 to about 2 AM the park filled up.  Several people had come from the airport.  They saw the Aurora from the planes and drove here instead of home.  Two nights earlier I was on a plane, the pilot announced that there was a “beautiful aurora” off the right side.  I was on the left.  So close but yet so far.  I remember the day when the pilot would have done a circle to make sure everyone got a view.  Those days are gone.

I had been hoping to see the aurora in Anchorage when I went up last week and was, to a degree, frustrated, because while Sitka had clear skies and people saw a beautiful aurora on Tuesday and Wednesday Anchorage had snow, which turned out to be a good thing because the sled dog races scheduled for the weekend needed it.  By Thursday Anchorage skies had cleared and I caught the tail end of the flair.

I took these pictures at Earthquake Park on cook inlet.  Some of them show a pink above the green.  That is the reflection of the street lights of Anchorage on the clouds.  It presents a strange mix of dancing aurora and stable but colored cloud.  On one picture there is what looks like, a row of dots.  That was a plane taking off from Anchorage International Airport.  The park closes at 11 PM.  I spoke to an Anchorage Police Officer at the sled dog races the next day.  I said I had been photographing the Aurora.  Then I realized I was telling him I had broken the law.  He saw my face and laughed.  “Yeah, we’re going to arrest someone looking at the Aurora.  This is Alaska.”

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