Scope Diagram Astrocamera.Net - Astrophotography by Dave Kodama

Southern California Aurora!
10 May 2024

An unusually intense (Class X) solar flare triggered an auroral display visible as far south as southern California. I had heard that in previous years, the aurora could be seen this far south, but just as a formless red glow in the sky, so I was not expecting much. However, I went ahead and set up my wide-field camera anyway and was rewarded by a surprisingly active display.

This display showed predominantly reds, yellows, and violet colors (visible in-camera only). In contrast, auroral displays I've previously seen in Iceland and Sweden were predominantly green in color.

The initial display came relatively early in the evening and appeared like the expected formless red glow, visible only in camera shots (the Moon was still above the horizon). Since the active displays came around midnight and were relatively dim to the eye and brief, casual peeks out at the sky didn't show anything unusual, but I was probably a victim of my own low expectations. Even at the peak display times, I don't remember anything but a dim gray glow being visible to the eye.

The all-night camera images were put together into a timelapse video which is on YouTube. Click on any of the images above to the video.



Photo info
  • Date/Time: 10 May 2024
  • Location: Vanishing Point Observatory
  • Camera: Nikon D850
  • Exposure: 15 sec.
  • Lens/Scope: Sigma 15mm f/2.8
  • Filter: -
  • Mount: fixed tripod
  • Guiding: -
  • Image Processing: Lightroom / Photoshop