What an amazing night of chasing the night of March 4th into the wee hours of March 5th! The early week cloud forecasts showed that Friday night would be too cloudy for much around Anchorage, but breaks were possible. There was some chatter that clouds should start breaking out around the Knik River area as the 10 o’clock hour neared. A look at satellite imagery showed that clouds were indeed starting to break up, so the decision was made to head to the river and get set up for some waiting.

There were only a few cars at the river when we first arrived, including on tour group taking pictures right next to the swimming hole. I set up the Sony camera to start taking some pictures and was able to confirm a very nice arc over the ridge line to the north. It was a fairly bright, gray “mist” hanging just above the mountains, but the camera had no problem showing the green color. We eventually moved down next to the river and waiting for the show to begin.

The app started showing a great uptick in solar wind data, with HPI indicating 40-41 GW around 11:45pm. We started watching the arc and could see it starting to gain intensity. Then, as expected from keeping an eye on the app’s data, the aurora lit up the sky at 11:49pm. And, what a show it was! We wrapped up at 3am but what a great night it was to be out!

We plan to go out on Sunday, Mar 6, so hopefully I’ll have another update on Monday!