April 4 2005. Aurora season is approaching its end here in Alaska. Nights are getting shorter fast, and when we reach May the sun will not go far enough below the horizon to give the dark skies required to see the aurora. Mud and mosquitoes will conquer the scene. Solar activity is very low. No large solar flares means that we don't see any extreme activity, but still there are 'bumps' in the solar wind that are sufficient to give nice auroral displays up here. These bumps are fairly predictable, and the one hitting us this night was as favorable as they get - I don't expect to see this good aurora any more this season. Fortunately we were blessed with one clear night in between several cloudy. Even better, a friend of mine was willing to make a trip to Murphy Dome (~25 miles NW of Fairbanks) which is the highest point along a ridge of hills bounded by the Chatanika River to the north and Minto Flats/Tanana River to the west. We got there maybe 11:15pm and had seen a lot of aurora on the way even though the sky wasn't all dark yet. The view when we got there... oh well, why waste words when you can see the photos. We stuck around for a couple of hours and watched the wonders above. This gallery presents the best of what we managed get away with. A few short time lapses including some of the photos in the gallery are found at the bottom (requires Quick Time player).


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