In Search of Northern Lights

Duke Johnson

In Utah, just a possibility of seeing the Northern Lights entices many people to stay up late and travel to the mountains or desert. Even if the lights do stretch as far down as Utah, what greets you is usually just a very light haze near the northern horizon and that only happens a few times over the years.

photo credit: Frank S. Andreassen

Traveling to a location on the auroral oval can make a world of difference. Yellowknife, Canada is one of these places that isn’t that far away and is a place I last visited in 2001 as my wife and I went in search of the aurora. Then, it was -40 degrees (F ) for 6 straight nights. We utterly froze. This time, I’m returning to Yellowknife and taking better gear. My goal is to enjoy and photograph the northern lights with new digital equipment and a variety of lenses, do some time-lapse sequences for the dome and possibly even some video. I will be joined by Dr. Cherilynn Morrow who holds a PhD in Astrophysical, Atmospheric, and Planetary Science from the University of Colorado Boulder and William Stoll who is a physics teacher and explorer, and currently working on his PhD.

We plan to document this journey on the Clark Planetarium blog and hope you will follow our adventures as we freeze nightly in search of the aurora! The journey begins the night of March 3, so look for our first post on the 4th or 5th.


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2 thoughts on “In Search of Northern Lights

  1. I can’t wait to see an aurora show in the planetarium. I’ve only got to see the northern lights once here in northeastern Nevada.

  2. They really are incredible! I know it won’t be the same as being there, but I’ll do my best to give you an accurate representation. We’ll be working on the show for the next month. I have some really cool images and stories to share. Hope to see you there! –Duke

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