Aurora from Southern Wyoming / Northern Colorado

Before the forecast was upgraded and it was clear that the aurora was going to be visible so far south, we decided to hit the road and head a couple of hours north. We ended up on a dirt road off the 85 thirty off miles northeast of Cheyenne - very dark skies and a clear view north.

As we pulled up during late nautical twilight, things were going pretty strong:

The setting crescent moon was a pretty sight to capture amidst the aurora - an unlikely coincidence of major lunar standstill providing an extreme northerly setting azimuth with the peak of the current solar cycle:

We packed up to head home after 11pm, but seeing cars pulling to the side on I25 convinced to stop again in northern Colorado. These next shots were taken on another dirt road to the west of the interstate at the Carr turnoff. This is looking north with the lights of Cheyenne visible at the right hand side of the photo:

I think the red lights here are possibly from a runway (USAF?), but I can’t spot it on the map:

And finally, a shot directly overhead - I’m grateful to @whitacre.rick for convincing me to buy a geared head for my tripod. It made setting up for this extremely easy.


Great shots!! Love it!!
I am stuck in Hawaii and missed the whole show!! Glad you got it!

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Thanks Rick!

“Stuck in Hawaii” :joy: Enjoy!

The downloaded image had the EXIF geotagged location scrubbed so I couldn’t place this shot on the map and see the orientation vector; however, the red lights may be from wind turbines that are over 200’ AGL.

Looking at the map, there are several wind farms just north of the state line: N.B., give it a few seconds to load individual turbine locations within the viewing area on the panel to the right: Viewer | USWTDB

Ah yes - that would be it. We saw those on the drive up. All the lights blink on and off in sync - it must be centrally controlled as they’d drift otherwise. In the dark it looked like they were ground level lights.

This was our actual shot location: The Photographer's Ephemeris - Web App

Thanks for solving the mystery!