Aurora Borealis tint the clouds over Colorado Springs

“Americans as far south as Alabama and Northern California are being treated to a show of the northern lights this weekend from a powerful geomagnetic storm which reached Earth. “The aurora is when we get energized particles that have left the sun in more quantities than usual, and they interact with Earth’s magnetic barrier,” Shawn Dahl, senior space weather forecaster for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, explained to CBS News. The geomagnetic storm reached Earth Friday evening as an “extreme” G5, according to the NOAA’s Space Weather Prediction Center. Geomagnetic storms are ranked from G1 to G5.” (From:

Time lapse video of Aurora Borealis – tinted clouds; captured from HCH office back patio on 11May 2024, 2340MDT – 12May2024, 0057MDT

In spite of…or maybe because of the clouds, the images are more interesting??

“The clouds make the image more interesting” seems to be the phrase of the year for photographing special events…first the Total Solar Eclipse in April in San Saba, Texas. Now, the Aurora Borealis that very rarely stretches far enough south for us to see it in Colorado.

I was motivated by Ann Chavtur’s amazing Facebook post image and video of her capture of the Aurora Borealis on Friday night, 10 May 2024 from her home in Monument, Colorado. (The “official” maps didn’t show the auroral ring stetching into Colorado). Her video had clouds moving in, that didn’t obscure the Aurora, so I was not deterred that our forecast called for some clouds throughout the night and decided to give imaging it a try… 

Her post said “point your camera north” and take wide angle, several second-long images.   I started out on the front patio pointing north over the house. I quickly moved to the back patio outside our home office instead – to have a better foreground (than the corners of the house).  Ann’s images were 14mm, f/2.8, ISO 1600, 8 seconds.  When I used those settings, the result seemed too bright (perhaps because of the light pollution in town versus at her house in Monument), so I backed off to 14mm, f/2.8, ISO 1600, 4 seconds.  It took me a few minutes of adjusting the exposure settings, fiddling with the framing, and deciding if this whole thing was really worth doing – until I finally told myself to… “just do it, it’s only bits on the memory card that can be erased in the morning…”   

Once I got the framing (including the new garden bee hives) and exposure settings settled, I captured 775 images between 11May, 2340MDT and 12 May, 0057MDT. Even though the clouds looked like to my eye that they had dissipated at times, with its 4 second exposure, the camera thought otherwise! But the video shows how the Aurora changed the colors of the clouds throughout that ~1:25 hour period. 

The “rest of the story” – fun facts, equipment and capture information, and a single 4-second image – are in the gallery in the comets, meteor showers and other events section at:

…and yes, I just noticed that I need to update the cover page of that section, that currently talks about lunar eclipses!