The Washington Post

Northern lights (aurora) captured in eastern Maryland Sunday morning (photos)


Northern lights as viewed from Assateague Island, Md. ( Jeff Berkes photography )

Extreme weather photographer Jeff Berkes was in the right place at the right time and took advantage of a very rare opportunity to photograph the northern lights in eastern Maryland. He explains:

I knew a geomagnetic storm was in progress while camping along the beaches of Assateague Island National Seashore. They were very faint to the naked eye and only experience sky watchers would be able to notice them. I pointed my lens to the north and used a long exposure of 20 seconds at f/2.8 to capture the faint hues of the Aurora Borealis over Ocean City, Maryland.


Northern lights as viewed from Assateague Island, Md. ( Jeff Berkes photography )

“Remember photography is about capturing the light, and light is additive, so this means your camera can pick up things that your eyes may miss,” Berkes said.

SpaceWeather.com, where Berkes originally posted the aurora photos, said there were also aurora sightings in Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Iowa, Utah, Nebraska, Washington, Oregon, and the Dakotas Saturday night and early Sunday morning.


A shoooting star as viewed from Assateague Island, Md. ( Jeff Berkes photography )

For the next two nights, we’re in a new moon phase (not visible), meaning dark skies - ideal for stargazing (if you can get away from city haze and light).

“Might be worth getting up early in the morning this week,” Berkes said.

Related: More pictures of June 16-17 aurora at NASA’s Solar Dynamics Laboratory Facebook page

Jason is the Washington Post’s weather editor and Capital Weather Gang's chief meteorologist. He earned a master's degree in atmospheric science, and spent 10 years as a climate change science analyst for the U.S. government. He holds the Digital Seal of Approval from the National Weather Association.

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