Haunting Northern Lights glow green in footage taken in Alaska (photos)

Strong solar activity generated bright green auroras over Alaska, as seen by a photographer April 11 from Trapper Creek.

The breathtaking spectacle lasted for up to four hours, photographer Lee Kirkum told Space.com, and the aurora display was very visible despite a half moon above the horizon.

“It was more active than normal, although I saw the same last winter,” Kirkum wrote in an email. “They’re usually not that showy. I usually see all the contrails, but this time – at one point – there was all of the sky except the extreme southern sky.”

Related: An overactive sunspot just launched a massive X-class solar flare into space

Even more incredible, Kirkum used a smartphone (a Samsung S21 in night mode) to capture most of the images. The Northern Lights are usually quite weak, although you may occasionally be lucky enough to see Northern Lights strong enough to be picked up by a high definition smartphone camera sensor.

Auroras are generated when the sun throws a bunch of charged particles, called coronal mass ejections, towards the Earth. When the particles interact with the Earth’s magnetic field, they can cause air molecules to shine high in the atmosphere, creating beautiful lights to capture.

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Photographer Lee Kirkum captured stunning images of the Northern Lights on April 11, 2022.

(Image credit: Lee Kirkum)
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Photographer Lee Kirkum captured stunning images of the Northern Lights on April 11, 2022.

(Image credit: Lee Kirkum)
Image 3 of 4

Photographer Lee Kirkum captured stunning images of the Northern Lights on April 11, 2022.

(Image credit: Lee Kirkum)
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Photographer Lee Kirkum captured stunning images of the Northern Lights on April 11, 2022.

(Image credit: Lee Kirkum)

The sun has been very present this month. On April 11, the sun triggered a coronal mass ejection (CME) from a “dead sunspot”, a previously quiescent concentration of magnetic field lines on the surface. It was the latest in a series of storms that week; another major CME just took off at Easter.

If you need the gear to capture the best Northern Lights, consider our best cameras for astrophotography and our best lenses for astrophotography to make sure you’re prepared. We also have a beginner’s guide on how to photograph the Northern Lights.

If you’ve captured a great photo of the Northern Lights, let us know! You can send images and comments to Space.com by e-mail [email protected]. Be sure to let us know your name, where you were observing from and what it was like to see the aurora.

Follow Elizabeth Howell on Twitter @howellspace. Follow us on twitter @Spacedotcom Or on Facebook.

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