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aurora borealis

Wyoming Photographers Delight In Aurora Borealis

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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.

Julie Smith, Buffalo, Wyoming

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.

Kirk Carrico, Casper
Kirk Carrico, Casper
Kirk Carrico, Casper

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.”

Jack Hobmeier, Basin
Jack Hobmeier, Basin

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.

Jessica Lass, Gillette
Jessica Lass, Gillette
Jessica Lass, Gillette

Meanwhile, Jennifer Hardesty took her photos off of Highway 14 in the Bighorn Mountains, overlooking the town of Dayton.


Jennifer Hardesty, Dayton
Jennifer Hardesty, 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.”

Lisa Killian, Buffalo
Lisa Killian, Buffalo

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Aurora Borealis May Be Visible in Wyoming On Wednesday Night And Thursday Morning

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Photo by Uriel Sinai/Getty Images
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By Jimmy Orr, Cowboy State Daily

In Wyoming, residents are familiar with winter storm watches and tornado watches but G3 Magnetic Storm Watches aren’t that commonplace.

It sounds dramatic, but it doesn’t mean that Cowboy State residents should wrap themselves up in tinfoil and look for the nearest cave or anything.

This is a good type of “watch.” This is something people look forward to.

Without getting too much into the science, a G3 Geomagnetic Storm Watch means that because of eruptions on the sun, clouds of charged particles are heading toward the Earth.

Once they hit something called the magnetosphere, the aurora borealis happens — or in layman’s terms, the beautiful dancing lights that appear in the skies, and usually hundreds of miles north of here.

When that happens over Wyoming, it’s rare. But it could happen to some parts of the state on Wednesday and Thursday.

According to the National Weather Service in Riverton, Wyoming, the best chance to see the light show is between 8 p.m. and 10 p.m. Wednesday evening, although the show could last well into Thursday morning.

The best locations to see the “northern lights” will be in northern Wyoming, specifically Cody, Lovell and Buffalo, according to a Riverton meteorologist.

But there’s a chance it could be seen anywhere in northern Wyoming.  And it could dip further south, as well. It’s hard to predict.

One good resource to check on is SoftServe News.  This website will be updated throughout the evening and even includes a real-time Aurora forecast map.

Happy viewing!

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