PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A pair of photographers captured stunning images of the northern lights over Crater Lake in September.
Local photographer Tim Hallam told KOIN 6 News that he and a friend traveled to Crater Lake National Park on Sept. 18 in hopes of seeing the anticipated aurora borealis that night. Hallam said that the northern lights display was the best he’s ever seen and that he snapped multiple photos between 8:15 and 10:23 p.m.
“The aurora is a fairly rare occurrence for us at these latitudes and to catch it on a clear moonless night is another challenge in itself,” Hallam said. “On this occasion we were treated to a spectacular display of light, the best I have personally seen. I’m looking forward to seeing and capturing something like this again in the future as this experience left quite an impression.”
KOIN 6 Meteorologist Josh Cozart confirmed that the northern lights were visible in Oregon and other northern U.S. states that night due to a solar storm. According to NASA, the northern lights occur when particles from solar storms travel along the earth’s magnetic field, interacting with atmospheric gasses like oxygen, which creates flares of green and red light, and nitrogen, which shines purple blue.
Crater Lake National Parks spokesperson Marsha McCabe was unable to confirm that the northern lights were visible at Crater Lake that night. However, she said that the lights are visible from the park bout once a year.
“I would say it is something that happens every year or so, but definitely a rare and exciting phenomenon,” McCabe said. “Seeing them is often a matter of being in the right place at the right time.”
Sunspots, common indicators of northern lights, have dramatically increased since 2022, scientists say. If the trend continues, the Earth will reportedly see some of the best northern light displays in decades during the next 18 months.