Star Gazing – Northern Lights

May 28, 2017 @ 13:36

On the night of May 27, sky watchers across Canada and as far south as Pennsylvania were treated to a beautiful light show – the aurora borealis.


Primarily seen as a greenish glow low in the north, the Aurora at times creates long spikes or columns of green, red, blue and violet that brighten and fade. This particular G3 geomagnetic storm was a result of a coronal mass ejection (CME) that blew off the Sun on May 23. These billion-ton clouds of charged particles interacted with Earth’s magnetic field producing the dance of light.


Gary Boyle aka The Backyard Astronomer was out all night imaging the cosmic show. He says today’s digital single lens reflex (DSLR) cameras are ideal to shooting the northern lights and the starry sky. The advantage over the standard point and shoot or cell phone cameras is the DSLR has a manual setting that allows you to expose for many seconds. Along with a camera tripod and cable release, you too can capture these moments in time forever. Cameras also register more colours than the human eye. After all, pixels are free.

Gary Boyle is past President of the Ottawa Centre of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada and has been interviewed numerous times on Canadian radio stations. Gary is an astronomy educator and lecturer with a never-ending passion for the night sky. Gary can be reached via his website:

Gary Boyle

Known as “The Backyard Astronomer”, Gary Boyle is an astronomy educator, guest speaker and monthly columnist for the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada. He has been interviewed on more than 50 Canadian radio stations and local Ottawa TV. In recognition of his public outreach in astronomy, the International Astronomical Union has honoured him with the naming of Asteroid (22406) Garyboyle. Follow him on Twitter: @astroeducator or his website:

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