Surprise in the Summer Night Sky

I've seen my fair share of the aurora borealis (northern lights).  Sometimes I've even chronicled my aurora experiences on this website, like here and here.  I love hunting the great Alaska aurora.  Witnessing the ribbons of light bring me peace and fill me with hope.  Plus, the displays bring so much excitement!

Well, folks - I'm here to report: spotting the northern lights never gets old.  Especially when it lights up the night sky when you're least expecting it.  Like in the summer.

All the way up here in Alaska, some parts of the state experience 24 hours of daylight for most of the summer.  That's right, no sunset or no sunrise, just full time brightness.  Since the sky should be relatively dark in order to spot the northern lights with the naked eye, you can imagine how rare it is to spot the aurora in the summer.  For instance, it would be difficult to see the lights in Barrow, the northern most city in America, because the sun just doesn't set in the summer!

I admit the unfocused photos below don't do the aurora justice.  But I think the shots were decent enough, considering the facts: I was completely caught off guard with news of the aurora at 12:15am; I assembled my tripod in the dark; AND the view from Mother Nature was competing with another awesome view I had - on FaceTime - which frankly captured more of my attention.

Looking north, a dusky sky.

Aurora over Mount Roberts.

It was a terrific evening, full of surprises.  And hope.