Waves of Northern Lights in Time-Lapse


Watch waves of aurora wash over the sky rising out of the west to swirl overhead.

This was the spectacle we saw Friday night at the Churchill Northern Studies Centre, as the northern lights filled our sky. I set up my camera on the east side of the main building, out of the bitterly cold west wind. The fish-eye lens is aimed west but its view takes in most of the sky.

The bright object at lower left is the Moon.

The still image above is a frame from the 349-frame time-lapse movie below.

Each frame is a 7-second exposure at f/3.5 and ISO 1250. The interval is 1 second.

The movie covers about 45 minutes of time, compressed into 30 seconds. It shows the aurora peaking in intensity, then fading out behind the ever-present thin cloud drifting through all night.

What amazes me are the waves and loops of auroral curtains that come at us from the west (bottom behind the building) then swirl around the zenith overhead. They move off to the east and north at the top of the frame.

Even watching this in real-time the scene was astonishing. The curtains rippled so quickly, forming and reforming over the sky, you didn’t know where to look. As the image above shows, people just stood amazed.

— Alan, February 9, 2014 / © 2014 Alan Dyer

P.S.: You can view a better-grade version of the movie at my Flickr site.

3 comments on “Waves of Northern Lights in Time-Lapse”

  1. Thanks, Alan, for the impressive auroral time-lapse!
    How cold was it? Any problems with your camera gear from the cold?

    • Hi Roy — no issues for the hour it was out there. Even the battery still had a decent level. Frost on the lens would be the issue over a longer time, though placing the camera exposed to the incessant wind would likely avoid that. As it was it was in the lee of the building.

  2. This is a very nice capture of the aurora!


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