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“The Heavens Declare the Glory of God.”

February 17, 2016

You guys…last night was CRAZY. I think I’m still in shock. I guess I had no idea what the northern lights *really* were before that.

Last night I bundled up way more than I had previously and went out earlier than I had before (midnight). People had been seeing the lights around then, so I figured I’d try, too. There wasn’t much. This is pretty much what the sky looked like the entire time:

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I headed back inside after about 30 minutes to warm up and wait a bit to see if it got better. From the previous nights it seemed like if there was going to be any action it was after 1 am and closer to 3. So I went back inside, did some stuff, kept checking the windows…nothing.

Finally sometime after 1 am I saw some brighter color in the sky. So I put on the gloves, hat, etc that I had taken off and grabbed everything and headed back out. I took a few pictures and waited around for a while but nothing much was happening aurora-wise. I DID see a meteor and that was pretty awesome! I thought it was a falling star and was confused at first when it just kept falling and falling and then I saw the tail and was like “eeeek” haha. That was fun!

**I’ve been told that meteors and falling stars are the same thing. I never was good at science. (But the difference in my book was the night I saw a falling star it was just a white speck that moved a few inches and disappeared. The next night when I saw the “meteor” it fell forever and had a colorful tail behind it.)

This was the most I saw as far as northern lights:

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By now it was around 3 am and I figured nothing was going to happen. I was a bit bummed but was pretty cold and didn’t want to just stand around doing nothing. (I discovered that -11 degrees is a tiny bit colder than 7 degrees and actually makes a big difference – even when using HotHands for the first time since being here!)

So I headed back inside. I unscrewed the camera from the tripod and put the tripod upstairs. I started taking off the hat and gloves and everything again. Then, as I do every night, I started the rounds of checking ALL the windows I could find and peering out. Nope, nothing. Washed my face. Started to get ready for bed. Checked the downstairs east-facing window again. And saw what appeared to be a wall of green slowly moving across the sky. I’d seen that before, but it was still pretty cool so I quickly put on my boots (didn’t even zip them up so they were flapping around my ankles), grabbed the camera and ran outside (no scarf, no hat, no HotHands). I didn’t have the tripod (kicking myself for not running up to get it) but leaned the camera on the deck and tried anyway. This is the best I got:

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I stood there for a few minutes just watching the wall of green slowly move across the sky. It was pretty cool. And then all of a sudden it started morphing and dancing and changing color.IMG_3430

 

Of course by this point I was really  kicking myself for not having the tripod. What were the odds though? NOTHING had been happening prior to this. (Now I wonder if I’ve missed other crazy displays by not being outside at the right moment)

I don’t know what happened but suddenly the sky overhead just exploded. I was standing there in shock. It actually scared me because part of it was right overhead and I had seen nothing like it before, not even on video.

This was the sky where the wall of green had changed suddenly:

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And this was happening directly overhead (these pictures in no way capture the incredibleness of what was happening. They pale in comparison but at least you get the idea):

I’m not entirely sure why the pictures just show purple, white and green because there was bright pink and red as well. The pictures just don’t show it at all. But it was incredibly bright. And the movement was so fast, darting all over the place. I was in awe. What on earth was happening? Was this what they meant by solar flare? It appeared that something had just happened with the sun. I wish I had video or better pictures of it, because I know it’s going to slowly fade in my mind. I wish I could remember every detail for forever.

And then just as quickly as it had started it was over. The sky returned to exactly as it had been before and all that was left were puffs of white, like the remnants of fireworks on the 4th of July. Of course I couldn’t just walk inside after that display.  What if it happened again? I waited and waited but nothing happened or looked like it would happen. But then nothing had indicated the display I saw either. I was so torn. How long do you just wait outside? And this time I was even less bundled than my first foray outside. But with the excitement and adrenaline I hadn’t even felt cold. Now that it was over I was starting to feel cold. I had already bundled up, taken everything off, bundled up, taken stuff off over and over again (my hair was a mess!) and wasn’t sure if I should bundle up and get the tripod again. It was almost 4 am by this point and I knew I did need to get some sleep. Besides, would a show like that happen again? I kinda doubted it but who knows, I never expected it in the first place.

What an incredible display of God’s handiwork. I had asked Him earlier to let me see something cool just for fun but certainly wasn’t expecting THAT! He spoils me.

I finally stumbled into bed around 4:30 this morning. Had a hard time falling asleep after that display but did eventually get a few hours of sleep. Tonight is my last night in Fairbanks and of course I want to see if I can see the lights again. Tonight is supposed to be a 5 (last night was a 4) so it could be really cool again. 55% chance of a geomagnetic storm tonight (I don’t really understand all the stuff I read but that sounds promising.) I’m going to be a zombie heading to the airport tomorrow morning but I don’t even care!

 

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 18, 2016 8:31 am

    WOW! Those pics are amazing, I can’t even imagine it in person! How awesome!

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