DENVER – Hues of red, pink, purple and green lit up the sky across North America Thursday night, including areas as far south as Colorado Springs.
The so-called “northern lights” were only initially forecast to be seen as far as New York and Idaho by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Space Weather and Prediction Center, but stronger than anticipated influences from the sun made it possible for Coloradans to get a front row seat to this spectacular but rare atmospheric phenomenon.
The aurora borealis is caused by collisions between gas particles in the Earth’s atmosphere with charged particles from the sun’s atmosphere. Denver7 chief meteorologist Mike Nelson can definitely explain it better than I can do though.
But enough of the science-y stuff. Just enjoy these incredibly awe-inspiring photos from members in our Facebook photography group, Discover Colorado | Through Your Photos:
When I heard there was a chance of seeing the #northernlights in #colorado last night, I headed to the darkest place I could think of, pointed at a pitch black sky, and hoped for the best ❤️ — at Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument.
Northern Lights at Pawnee National Grasslands, Colorado!
I saw that the northern lights were supposed to be viewable all the way into northern Colorado so I drove 3 hours north to the Pawnee National Grasslands to see what I could capture! This is the first time I have ever seen the northern lights which also means it's my first time photographing them. It's not perfect but I'm happy with how the photos turned out. Thanks to my brother for climbing the windmill and posing for a shot! It was an epic night!!!
Three more photos from last night of the Aurora in Pagosa Springs, Colorado. We never get to see them here!!!
Click on the photos to see a higher-resolution image.
A little about what you're seeing:
Say hello to STEVE!
The white band is called the STEVE phenomenon. (Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement). It is a rare type of atmospheric glow similar to polar lights, which can be triggered when a stream of solar plasma interacts with Earth's atmosphere and magnetosphere!
The pink and orange are due to our high altitude location of 7,500 feet, while being so far south (37 latitude).
10:00 PM exactly
Canon Mark IV
Northern Lights South Park, Colorado
I am so happy that I decided to go out last night to attempt to photograph the Northern Lights. They were a lot stronger and more visible than I anticipated. There was so much movement with the Aurora dancing in the sky, I decided to take a few timelapses. Here are a few single frames from these timelapses. 🤩
📸: Candy’s Captures