Occasionally we're lucky enough to see some northern lights or aurora borealis, and when we do, it is exceptionally spectacular, especially these photos that were captured near Old Forge, NY on March 20, 2021.

It's not really common to see northern lights in Central New York, but photographer Kurt Gardner captured the beautiful conformation of them near Old Forge. We're usually too far south of the North Pole, but sometimes we get lucky.

Gardner says other than contrast, the photo is natural.

The longer exposure on a tripod makes it brighter than the eye can see. But still legit colors and basically what I could see. Just not as bright. Super fun if u ever get a chance it will freak your mind…

This is how NASA explains an Aurora:

Frequently there are beautiful light shows in the sky. These lights are called auroras. If you're near the North Pole, it is called an aurora borealis or northern lights. If you're near the South Pole, it is called an aurora australis or the southern lights.

Auroras are caused by the Sun. The Sun is not only hot and bright, but it's also full of energy and small particles that fall toward Earth. NASA says the protective magnetic field around Earth shields us from most of the energy and particles, and we don't even notice them.

The amount of energy the Sun sends, depends on the streaming solar wind and solar storms. During one kind of solar storm called a coronal mass ejection, the Sun expels a huge bubble of electrified gas that can travel through space at high speeds.

When a solar storm comes toward us, some of the energy and small particles can travel down the magnetic field lines at the north and south poles into Earth's atmosphere. There, the particles interact with gases in our atmosphere resulting in beautiful displays of light in the sky. Oxygen gives off green and red light. Nitrogen glows blue and purple. [NASA]

Gardner, who specializes in Adirondack photography, tells us for the best viewing of the night sky and possible northern lights, it's best to plan your trip around a time when there's no moon in the sky.

Here are some other northern lights photographed by Gardner 6 years ago. His gallery is open by appointment only right now but will be back to normal hours in May. See more of his images here.

Northern Lights In Old Forge

It's not really common to see northern lights in Central New York, but photographer Kurt Gardner captured the beautiful conformation of them near Old Forge. We're usually too far south of the North Pole, but sometimes we get lucky.
Auroras are caused by the Sun. The Sun is not only hot and bright, but it's also full of energy and small particles that fall toward Earth. NASA says the protective magnetic field around Earth shields us from most of the energy and particles, and we don't even notice them.
The amount of energy the Sun sends, depends on the streaming solar wind and solar storms. During one kind of solar storm called a coronal mass ejection, the Sun expels a huge bubble of electrified gas that can travel through space at high speeds.
When a solar storm comes toward us, some of the energy and small particles can travel down the magnetic field lines at the north and south poles into Earth's atmosphere. There, the particles interact with gases in our atmosphere resulting in beautiful displays of light in the sky. Oxygen gives off green and red light. Nitrogen glows blue and purple. [NASA]

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