An Astrophotographer’s Tips for Catching a Glimpse of the Aurora Borealis
The Solar Storm that Created the Show
An astrophotographer from southern Ontario captured Thursday night’s display of the Aurora Borealis, and has offered some tips and tricks for catching a glimpse of them yourself tonight. Trevor Jones, of St. Catharines, Ont., explained that the northern lights are a result of the solar wind from the sun sending charged solar particles towards Earth which can be seen at the poles during a geomagnetic storm. If the storm is strong enough and far enough south in latitude, it can be seen in southern Ontario.
Clear Skies and Adjusting to the Dark
To get the best view of the Aurora Borealis, astrophotographer Trevor Jones says the most important thing is to have clear skies. If it’s cloudy, you’ll miss them altogether. He also recommends getting away from the light pollution of the city and allowing your eyes to adjust to the dark for at least 25 minutes for optimal viewing.
Travelling to a dark-sky preserve, areas where light pollution has been nearly eliminated, will give viewers the best shot at a vivid show. Canada has 13 federally-designated dark-sky preserves, areas where light pollution is kept to a minimum or eliminated completely. Three provincial parks in Ontario have an official dark-sky designation as well, such as Binbrook Conservation Area in Niagara and Torrance Barrens in Gravenhurst.
The Light Show Close to Home
One of the ways that sets Thursday night’s aurora borealis apart was the fact that it was also seen in southern Ontario when residents reported seeing the northern lights in downtown Toronto. Astrophotographer Trevor Jones caught the lights “dancing overhead” in St. Catharines Thursday night and was among a number of photographers who captured Thursday’s recent solar event.
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