We had an amazing night across the Anchorage area on Saturday night (Feb 26) and into Sunday (Feb 27) morning! There was no real plan to chase on Saturday evening, as cloud projections showed the area in thick cover. However, one member of the lights group indicated clouds would break near the river around 10pm. Sure enough, satellite data showed clouds starting to break up and drier conditions moving into the region. Additionally, the hemispheric power index (HPI) increased from 15 GW to 25 GW from 9pm to 10pm. With that in mind, the decision was made to hit the road!
We arrived on location around 10:30pm and began to set up. Shortly afterwards, we noticed a significant glow in the sky and the white mountains in front of us began to shine in the night, almost as if the moon were starting to rise. We took some photos overhead and verified the leading edge of the arc was, in fact, directly overhead. To say we got a little excited was an understatement!
The lights came in several waves throughout the night. The HPI shot up to 54 GW early on in the evening, before tailing off to the 40s and 30s over the next couple of hours. The interesting thing about the night was the Bz stayed relatively north all night, with just a few dips south. However, the constant fluctuations of Bz gave us nearly continuous aurora displays from around 11pm until we closed down the chase around 4am. It was a great night to be out and was the best chase I’ve been on since last March. I hope to see a few more of these before we lose darkness in the next 45 days or so!
See more photos in the SmugMug photo gallery!