Enchanted Skies


Weak Aurora imaged from Wiseman, AK

Northern Lights


Object Information                                            Imaging Details

When Earth's magnetosphere is sufficiently disturbed by the solar wind, charged particles (protons and electrons) will fall into Earths upper atmosphere. Atomic oxygen and nitrogen is ionized by these charged particles which gives rise to light emission. Ionized oxygen can emit green and orange-red light while ionized nitrogen can emit red and blue light.

I travelled to northern Alaska for a few days during early September, 2015. I joined a small tour to Wiseman, AK - about 11 miles north of Coldfoot to observe and image the aurora borealis. Wiseman lies on or near the auroral oval - a region where auroral activity can often be seen.

The waning gibbous Moon bleached out the sky to some degree, but the sky was otherwise transparent. Activity was (sadly) very low on the morning of September 2nd, but I was able to observe and image a few minor outbursts. One is shown here.

Clicking the above image will bring up an image with a slightly larger field of view.


Canon 15mm fisheye lens

Canon T2i (type 1 modified)
Misc. Optics:
10 seconds @ iso 1600 (f/3.5)
None (fixed tripod)
Photoshop CS5.

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Enchanted Skies - Astrophotography by Rich Richins (all images copyright, Rich Richins)