The Northern Lights

October 22, 2001
Photographs taken from 10:15 p.m., October 22, 2001, to 12:15 a.m., October 23, 2001 

After seeing an awesome northern lights show the previous night, I noticed activity was very strong all day Monday with KPs of 4 to 7.

However, there was little indication that the activity would continue at a high level.  In fact, predictions looked discouraging for the evening.  On the other hand, I knew that this solar flare had a lot of energy, and so just before 10 p.m., I took a chance and drove to the farm.

It was clear out, but clouds were expected later that night - so if a show was to happen, the only time for me to see it would be in the next couple of hours - similar to last night.

I arrived at the farm at 10:15 p.m., and saw an arc like structure from the northwest to east, with a diffuse green glow. Activity was about 30 degrees at the highest point.

I set up my camera and tripod. All of a sudden, there was a very bright green glow to the north. The activity slowly moved to the northwest. From then on, a bright area would appear in the east-northeast, and then move slowly west. As it moved west, there would be curtains that would follow, with the most intense rays directly north, and with activity going up about 70 degrees.

The show captured my attention as I watched the activity move from east to west constantly.

Activity quieted around 11 p.m. It was getting cooler out. I put another light coat on, one that had a hood. The warmth of two light jackets felt good. I figured I would stay out until midnight and then go home.

Then, sometime around 11:15 p.m., activity picked up dramatically - but in a way different way than the previous night. Areas in the sky, from the east-south-east, to overhead, to the north and to the northwest started a pulsating motion - the northern lights would appear and then disappear very quickly. I leaned back on my vehicle and looked up in the sky, and enjoyed the activity for a long time. My neck got a little stiff, but the view and activity was worth seeing.

The pulsating auroral activity continued until just after midnight, and then the clouds started moving in from the northwest. That was okay, as activity was dying down.

As I drove home, I could still see a glow in the northeast sky.

And I thought, wow, two nights in a row of active aurora, and activity varied so much from night to night, and even from hour to hour on each night.

I recalled that there could be another major show on Wednesday night, but it's expected to be cloudy with snow showers. That's probably okay, as I need to get caught up on my sleep (but then again, if it clears up . ).

The photos below are shown in order of sequence taken.

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