We just returned from a 10-day working/vacation in Eastern Idaho and Wyoming. On the 3rd night of the trip, we were camping at Rainbow Point on Hebgen Lake, Montana, about 6 miles North of West Yellowstone. It had been mostly cloudy all day, but it cleared up after the sun had set. So I went down to the lake's southern end boat ramp and dock, which had the clearest view of the night sky looking North over the lake, to see if I could get stars reflecting on the water.
In the first frame, there was a yellow glow just over the hills, and the sky was just starting to get pink. I was at ISO 1600 at that point. I thought it was the glow from a town to the Northeast, maybe Livingston, Montana, but that was 150 miles away. It couldn't be Gardiner. It was little more than a truck stop and a couple of hotels over 60 miles in a deep canyon on the Yellowstone River. It is almost 2,000 feet in elevation lower than us. I bumped the ISO to 3200, and by the third shot, it was apparent what it was: the Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the Northern Lights.
I moved around the lake to the Northwest to see if I could get a better shot. But the spot that gave me the best show was at the boat ramp looking due North. From the first frame, as it was getting started, to the last frame, it faded away in less than an hour. I did not have time to research to see if anyone else in the area had seen the show. But indeed, on the 19th of September, the Northern Lights were seen from Northeastern Washington to Minnesota.
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Dimitri Vasileiou • Editor