Aurora from Murmansk, December 18, 2023

On the night of December 18, 2023, i managed to very successfully catch the aurora. So that the observations would not be interfered with by light from Murmansk, it was decided to go to Lake Lapot. And, as it turned out, it was not in vain – the glow was very bright and large (almost half the sky), the color was clearly visible, and the shape of the glow changed in real time.

Aurora from Murmansk, December 18, 2023
Aurora from Murmansk, December 18, 2023

-Samyang 16/2.0 ED Canon EF lens
-Canon 550Da camera
5s exposition, ISO 1600, dark frame substraction.
Location: lake Lapot, Murmanskaya oblast.

Video capture using a Xiaomi 12T smartphone in real time (shutter speed 18s, ISO 6400):

How to capture the aurora

Aurora is an atmospheric phenomenon in the form of a glow in the upper layer of the atmosphere, caused by the interaction of the Earth’s magnetosphere with particles of the solar wind. In October 2023, I was able to see and photograph the aurora for the first time. To do this, I had to go all the way to the Arctic Circle (Teriberka village), since the likelihood of seeing the lights in the southern regions of Russia is extremely low.

Aurora in Teriberka, October 17, 2023, 22:46
Aurora in Teriberka, October 17, 2023, 22:46

To shoot night landscapes, I usually use a DSLR and several wide-angle lenses, as well as an astrotracker. However, it turned out that the high brightness of the auroras allows the use of very short shutter speeds (about 10-15 seconds). When shooting with a fast lens and (or) a modern low-noise camera, an astro tracker is not needed and a photo tripod is quite sufficient.

In addition, modern smartphones with the ability to set long exposures in manual mode (15-30 seconds) can also be successfully used to photograph auroras from a tripod. An additional adapter may be required to mount your smartphone on a photo tripod.

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