By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily
It was a rare moment for Wyoming sky gazers.
Not only did residents see the Northern Lights on Wednesday night but the light show happened in places not expected.
Meteorologists said northern Wyoming had the best shot at experiencing the lights. But the phenomenon outdid itself and Aurora Borealis presented itself as far south as Cheyenne.
“It’s a tricky proposition to try to predict when it’s going to happen and where it’s going to happen,” Cowboy State Daily meteorologist Don Day said. “A lot of time, it’s just luck.”
That’s not to say Day and his colleagues were taken by surprise. It was well-known to them that sunspot activity had picked-up as a new solar cycle had begun and there were flare-ups that are responsible for causing this type of thing.
It’s just not that often when it happens as far south as Wyoming. Finland, Sweden, and other lands far to the north, sure. But it’s a rarity down here.
That’s why when it happened, starting at about 10pm, photo pages like Wyoming Through the Lens received dozens of shots from excited Wyomingites who captured the imagery.
Colors were all over the spectrum. Greens, pinks, reds, yellows, purples, and even blues.
It didn’t seem to matter what type of equipment was used either.
Buffalo’s Julie Smith took this photo with her Samsung mobile phone with an eight-second exposure.
Casper’s Kirk Carrico said he spent several hours outside with friends in his backyard watching the lights.
“Three grown men hooting and hollering at the beautiful spectacle unfolding in front of us,” he said.
Carrico said he used a Nikon D3330 with a Rokinon lens to take his shots.
Over in Basin, Jack Hobmeier’s photos had shades of red, green, yellow, and even blue.
To capture his shots, Hobmeier said he used a Canon Rebel T6 camera. He said he wasn’t sure what settings to use because he hadn’t shot the Northern Lights before.
Didn’t take long, he said, to figure it out. “I just Googled it.”
Gillette photographer Jessica Lass produced gorgeous images of yellows, pinks, and purples.
“It was so fun to see the difference between what the naked eye could see (a white, moving haze that shot white beams up and occasionally could see a pink or slight green glow) and what a 30-second exposure on my camera could,” Lass, the owner of 1,000 Words Photography in Gillette, said.
Meanwhile, Jennifer Hardesty took her photos off of Highway 14 in the Bighorn Mountains, overlooking the town of Dayton.
Buffalo’s Lisa Killian had a different experience. In Buffalo, she captured mostly yellows and reds. To get her photos, she used her Canon and had her settings on: ISO 3200, f/3.5, 15 second exposure, 18mm.
“The colors are a result from exposure,” Killian said. “I was very surprised with the colors I was able to get. I thought it looked different from anything I’ve seen but 40 shots later and had the same results despite changing settings a few times. What an awesome experience that was.”