Aurora and Full Moon

August 06, 2007


Provided and copyright by: David Cartier, Sr.
Summary authors & editors: David Cartier, Sr., Jim Foster

The startling photo shown above was taken on April 1, 2007 at Sheep Mountain in Kluane National Park in the Yukon Territory of Canada. The time was approximately 11:00 p.m. (local time). I was driving the Alaska Direct bus from Tok, Alaska to Whitehorse, Yukon, when my passengers and I were treated to this magnificent view of a nearly full Moon, a moonlit, snow covered lake and a colorful display of the northern lights. A few of the passengers who had never witnessed a scene such as this were actually moved to tears.

Auroras occur approximately 100 kilometers above the surface of the Earth and result when charged particles, blasted from the Sun, become captured by the Earth’s magnetic field and spiral down toward the north and south poles. In doing so, they collide with gases (primarily nitrogen and oxygen) in the Earth's upper atmosphere, which causes their molecules to glow a variety of colors -- mostly pastel shades of green and red.

Photo details: 30-year-old Praktica LB2 camera and a Russian Zenitar 16 mm lens, 20 seconds at F2.8.

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