Heather Tianen found a place with no clouds in The Dalles, Ore., then witnessed the biggest geomagnetic storm she has seen in her life
Heather Tianen saw the forecast for one storm Thursday and was looking to avoid another kind of storm.
She checked weather maps looking for a clear spot from the clouds because she had been reading the Aurora Forecast. That forecast called for a KP-8 solar storm. The range goes from 0-9 on the scale so an 8 is considered a severe storm.
The Northern Lights were going to be visible in the Northwest.
She found the perfect spot in The Dalles, Ore., and captured these photographs of the geomagnetic storm.
“It rained most of the way there, and I wasn’t sure, but when we got there it was incredible. I’ve never seen them dancing over my head before,” Tianen said.
She took her children and a friend on the trip. When they arrived at the old Douglas Hollow Schoolhouse, they said the place looked haunted and they weren’t sure they wanted to get out of the car.
Well, Heather and her Canon 1D X Mark III got out and … magic.
“I was so shocked at seeing them dancing,” she said, describing the motion in the sky. “They were marching overhead. It was crazy. I’ve never seen that before in my life.”
In one image, there is a big white streak, called STEVE. That’s short for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement, and it is not, technically, part of the Aurora, or Northern Lights. Just as beautiful, though, Tianen said.
To the naked eye, Tianen said the movement above them was grayish. With the high-tech photography, she captured the colors.
In fact, her only regret was not taking even more photos. She was just overwhelmed by the spectacle that she just kept looking without her camera.
“We were looking straight up, above us, and you can see the picket fence moving right overhead,” she said. “It was so cool.”
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