Astronomy Sky's the Limit!

With aurora season kicking off again in the northern hemisphere, here is a look back at one of the best Aurora Storms from a nine week extreme astronomy adventure in the Yukon, Canada in early 2012.

Timelapse footage captured with Canon 5D Mark II (*2) with 14mm and 24mm lenses, Canon 1100D (aka Rebel T3) with 10-22mm lens and Canon 5D with 8mm Fisheye lens. Motion control with a custom controller by Fred Vanderhaven and a Vixen Polarie. Temperature around -20C (-5F) but thankfully not much wind.

Individual RAW image sequences processed with Lightroom and LR Timelapse (to compensate for extreme changes in brightness of aurora) and rendered with Adobe After Effects (using Neat Video noise smoothing). Final compilation in this case with Sony Vegas.

This was only my second night out on location away from the house where I was staying with my hosts Andrea and Florian Lemphers, without whose generosity the whole adventure would not have been possible.

Aside from the fisheye footage, which was running autonomously at 'home', all of these sequences were captured from Annie Lake Road, south of Whitehorse, the capital of the Yukon, on the 14th February. The Aurora was visible even before twilight had ended, and the storm was active for several hours and frequently held me spellbound with its brightness and fast movement.

Special thanks for the music to my talented friends Dean (sound production and editing) and Dayna Roberts (violin), who also produce fine wine in South Gippsland with Lithostylis ( I'm now undecided as to whether music or wine-making is the more time consuming of their passions.

You can read more about my aurora adventures in the Yukon on my website:

Phil Hart


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