Aurora Borealis over Anchorage Alaska

On Friday, October 12, 2012 at around 9:45 PM one of our friends posted on Facebook that he was seeing the Northern Lights from the Alaska Pacific University campus in Anchorage.  After seeing his post we checked the Aurora forecast for October 12 on the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) Geophysical Institute website and saw that they were predicting Aurora activity of 1 meaning “Quiet” on their scale of 0 to 9.  The forecast didn’t seem very promising, but the sky seemed clear so we decided to get in our car and drive up to the upper hillside above Anchorage to see if we could see anything.  We drove to a place in South Anchorage overlooking the city lights and for over an hour we were lucky enough to be treated to a great Aurora Borealis display.

On the way out the door I grabbed my camera but left my tripod at home because I wasn’t expecting much due to the forecast.  Below are a few of the pictures I took by bracing the camera on the dashboard or on the window frame of the car during the long exposure time.

October 12, 2012 Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) viewed from Prominence Point, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
Image Info: 10:11 PM on October 12, 2012, Aurora Borealis over Chugach State Park viewed from the upper hillside area of Anchorage, Alaska.  © 2012 Ron Karpilo
     Camera Gear and Settings: Nikon D800 Camera Body and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Zoom Lens at 14mm, Shutter Speed: 1.0 sec, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO: 4000

October 12, 2012 Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) viewed from Prominence Point, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
Image Info: 10:13 PM on October 12, 2012, Aurora Borealis over Chugach State Park viewed from the upper hillside area of Anchorage, Alaska.  © 2012 Ron Karpilo
     Camera Gear and Settings: Nikon D800 Camera Body and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Zoom Lens at 14mm, Shutter Speed: 1.3 sec, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO: 3200

October 12, 2012 Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) viewed from Prominence Point, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
Image Info: 10:14 PM on October 12, 2012, The city lights of Anchorage and Aurora Borealis viewed from the upper hillside area of Anchorage, Alaska.  © 2012 Ron Karpilo
     Camera Gear and Settings: Nikon D800 Camera Body and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Zoom Lens at 14mm, Shutter Speed: 0.6 sec, Aperture: f/3.2, ISO: 3200

October 12, 2012 Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) viewed from Prominence Point, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
Image Info: 10:45 PM on October 12, 2012, The Aurora Borealis viewed from the upper hillside area of Anchorage, Alaska.  © 2012 Ron Karpilo
     Camera Gear and Settings: Nikon D800 Camera Body and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Zoom Lens at 14mm, Shutter Speed: 6.0 sec, Aperture: f/4.0, ISO: 2000

October 12, 2012 Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) viewed from Prominence Point, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)  Image Info: 10:46 PM on October 12, 2012, Aurora Borealis over Chugach State Park viewed from the upper hillside area of Anchorage, Alaska.  © 2012 Ron Karpilo
     Camera Gear and Settings: Nikon D800 Camera Body and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Zoom Lens at 14mm, Shutter Speed: 2.0 sec, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO: 2000

October 12, 2012 Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) viewed from Prominence Point, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
Image Info: 10:49 PM on October 12, 2012, The city lights of Anchorage and Aurora Borealis viewed from the upper hillside area of Anchorage, Alaska.  © 2012 Ron Karpilo
     Camera Gear and Settings: Nikon D800 Camera Body and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Zoom Lens at 14mm, Shutter Speed: 2.0 sec, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO: 2500

October 12, 2012 Aurora Borealis (or Northern Lights) viewed from Prominence Point, Anchorage, Alaska, United States. (Ron Karpilo)
Image Info: 10:52 PM on October 12, 2012, Lacy Karpilo smiling and warming up in the car after watching the Aurora for an hour over Anchorage, Alaska.  © 2012 Ron Karpilo
     Camera Gear and Settings: Nikon D800 Camera Body and Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8G ED AF-S Zoom Lens at 24mm, Shutter Speed: 1/60 sec, Aperture: f/2.8, ISO: 1600

Thanks for checking out my pics.  Hopefully we’ll have some more clear nights and good Northern Lights displays this winter.  Next time I’ll bring my tripod.

Here are some resources that are helpful for Aurora viewing:
For Alaska weather forecasts, the first place I check is the NOAA Alaska Region website.
For Aurora activity, the University of Alaska Fairbanks Geophysical Institute Auroral Forecast website is a great resource.

Please feel free to leave me a comment or let me know if you have questions.  Follow me (@RonKarpilo) on Twitter for updates.

Thanks,

Ron Karpilo

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All photos and content © 2012 Ron Karpilo, all rights reserved.  Please contact ron@karpilo.com for usage and licensing information.

2 Responses to Aurora Borealis over Anchorage Alaska

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