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Night of the Aurora - Notes from the Field

Friday afternoon, I emailed an alert:  according to the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the sun's been spewing solar storms hurdling towards Earth. As a result, the aurora borealis (by NOAA's estimation) would be seen as far south as Alabama.

Night of the Aurora - Field notes from Hackberry Farm Photo School.
Indian Blankets and the Aurora - Hackberry Farm

At around 9 p.m. that evening, I walked outside with my wife to check her chickens and make sure everyone had made it into the coop for the night. When we walked into the yard, I looked north, and there it was: the visibly red glow of the aurora borealis.

I've seen the aurora in Alaska many times, but that was expected. Here, in North Texas, just spitting distance from Oklahoma, the aurora hangs overhead. Most of the color is a shapeless hue of red, some green and purple. Every now and then a distinct band of color races across the sky. I stand and watch while Kristy takes a few cell phone pictures.

Night of the Aurora - Field notes from Hackberry Farm Photo School.
Aurora and a WIndmill

Unfortunately, the clouds are drifting in fast, so while she checks the chickens, I gather my gear and head out to spots around Hackberry Farm to shoot pictures of the phenomenon. Before I shoot the first picture, a high scum of clouds begin to move in. The overcast is somewhat broken, but you can still see the color. From my house, there's not much north of here except open land and a few small towns all the way up to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Therefore, there's not much light pollution.

Night of the Aurora - Field notes from Hackberry Farm Photo School.
Hackberry Farm Pond reflecting the aurora.

As a result, the glow of the aurora painted the sky an eerie shade of color, and the gray clouds looked surreal. It was a pretty incredible sight.

This past year, the night skies have been full of magic and mystery (more on that in a blog post to come). I've pointed my camera skyward more than I ever have.  I am glad I have paid attention and taken the time to capture the celestial events.  I am a better photographer because of it.

Night of the Aurora - Field notes from Hackberry Farm Photo School.
Graves at Hilger Cemetary

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Owl hask
Owl hask
May 12

I’m amazed it reach you way down there! That’s so cool! It was the strongest one I’ve seen and here in southern Canada it filled the whole sky, like a dome of light streaming from straight above and so colourful. The back roads were packed but people saw it just in their backyards. And it was like a summer evening, relatively warm but no bugs yet! Thank you for your articles. I’m enjoying them.

Replying to

Thank you for the comment. I was surprised to see them as well. I can’t imagine what it looked like in Canada.

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