Friday 8th Feb - Soon after arriving at our hotel on the harbour in Tromso, we were amazed to see the lights on our first night. Unfortunately, having only just arrived, despite having hired a car we didn't yet know our way around to try and find some darker skies, so decided to enjoy the lights as best we could from the harbour wall just by the hotel. We weren't disappointed and although the glare from the buildings was brighter than I'd have liked, we still saw an impressive display. At one point the lights shot across the zenith right over the hotel.
Sunday 10th - patchy cloud throughout the day grew to total cloud cover by sunset at 4.30 so, after evening dinner, we retired to our room and watched for breaks in the cloud on the Tromso all-sky internet webcam. At around 7.30 a small break in the clouds started to appear and I saw a hint of green. The last few nights experience had told me that aurora seen with the naked eye was less bright than shown on the webcam. Nevertheless, as the sky continued to slowly clear, we decided to give it a go, rapidly climbing into our arctic gear and heading for the car. We drove to a small parking area on the other side of the island which we'd previously noted as offering dark views to the north despite it being very close to the airport.
I took a few test images to see if I could see any sign of the aurora, and could just about make out a hint of green, although this wasn't visible to the naked eye. We waited. About 30 minutes later, the clouds miraculously blew over, revealing a clear starlit sky and a pale auroral band to the north.
As we watched, and I started taking images, this suddenly brightened and a bright band grew up from the western horizon to cross the zenith down to the eastern horizon, rippling along the edges. Amazing. After that, the whole sky just erupted, and we didn't really know where to look. Vivid green bands of rippling light danced over the whole sky. Rapidly flickering red and green needles of light began to appear along the edges of the bands. Absolutely stunning.
All images - Nikon D300, Sigma 8mm f5.0, ISO1250, 10 second exposures.
Using an intervalometer I set the camera to take 10 second exposures at 15 second intervals. Here is the resulting short video sequence of a number of these. I now wish I'd taken more between moving the camera to get a longer movie. I guess I'm just going to have to go back and have another go!