May 14, 2024 - Technology

📸 One fun thing: Backyard aurora

The aurora borealis as seen from Albany, New York.

The aurora borealis seen on May 10, from Albany, N.Y. Photo: Alex Fitzpatrick/Axios

As a space phenomena junkie, this past weekend was an absolute treat.

  • Living in upstate New York, I keep tabs on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's space weather forecast for any chance to glimpse the northern lights — and boy, did they deliver this past weekend.

I usually head up to the inky-black skies of the Adirondacks for a chance to spot them when conditions are right.

  • But thanks to the recent solar storm, they showed up in my backyard — in Albany city limits, light pollution be damned.

How it works: To snag the above photo, I put my Ricoh GR IIIx on a tripod in shutter priority mode, set for 30 seconds at 3200 ISO.

The big picture: The aurora showed up not just in the typical northern latitudes, but across the U.S. and the world.

  • Like the recent solar eclipse, there's something special about being part of an event that so many people are trying to see at the same time.

I hope you got to see them, too.

  • But if you didn't, don't feel too much FOMO. The sun is in a period of what's called "solar maximum," when solar activity is expected to be high, generating more of the coronal mass ejections that can cause strong aurora on Earth.
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