There is a new program offered by NOAA which predicts the aurora. It has a global projection and shows, based on colors, where the Aurora will be in 20 minutes. I sat in my hotel room watching the map on the tool and when it looked like the Aurora would be out I went out to Earthquake Park. I got there and within 10 minutes had the Aurora to watch and photograph. Worked for me. Here is the link. http://auroraforecast.gi.alaska.edu/?area=Alaska
As I sat there from about 12:30 to about 2 AM the park filled up. Several people had come from the airport. They saw the Aurora from the planes and drove here instead of home. Two nights earlier I was on a plane, the pilot announced that there was a “beautiful aurora” off the right side. I was on the left. So close but yet so far. I remember the day when the pilot would have done a circle to make sure everyone got a view. Those days are gone.
I had been hoping to see the aurora in Anchorage when I went up last week and was, to a degree, frustrated, because while Sitka had clear skies and people saw a beautiful aurora on Tuesday and Wednesday Anchorage had snow, which turned out to be a good thing because the sled dog races scheduled for the weekend needed it. By Thursday Anchorage skies had cleared and I caught the tail end of the flair.
I took these pictures at Earthquake Park on cook inlet. Some of them show a pink above the green. That is the reflection of the street lights of Anchorage on the clouds. It presents a strange mix of dancing aurora and stable but colored cloud. On one picture there is what looks like, a row of dots. That was a plane taking off from Anchorage International Airport. The park closes at 11 PM. I spoke to an Anchorage Police Officer at the sled dog races the next day. I said I had been photographing the Aurora. Then I realized I was telling him I had broken the law. He saw my face and laughed. “Yeah, we’re going to arrest someone looking at the Aurora. This is Alaska.”