Northern Lights Take Center Stage Over Central Alaska

July 04, 2022

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Photographer: John Chumack 

Summary Author: John Chumack; Jim Foster

Featured above are photos of auroras I captured while teaching my annual Aurora Workshop in Alaska earlier this year. After a two-year shutdown due to pandemic concerns, we finally received clearance to go north again. It was worth the wait! I have to say that these were some of the best auroras I’ve seen in 32-years of observing them.

Northern lights or auroras occur whenever the energized particles that makeup the solar wind interact with oxygen and nitrogen molecules in the Earth’s upper atmosphere (at least 50 miles or 80 km above the surface). The key is that the Sun has to be sufficiently active to generate solar wind streams that reach the Earth’s orbit. Photos taken in late March 2022.

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