Northern Lights dance across Northwest sky

What a lucky night to have some reasonably clear skies! A solar storm brought a round of the Northern Lights early Wednesday morning, and several local photographers were at the ready.

"I have been privileged to witness some incredible aurora displays over the last year that I have been chasing them," said Holly Davison, who's photo is at the top there. "Last night's may have possibly been the best...or at least in the top 3. Wow! What a fun night."

Dominic Wilkerson managed an even more rare shot: The aurora over Seattle's skyline. Usually city lights wash out all but the strongest of storms, but his camera was strong enough to pick up the lights.

"This is the first time I have ever seen the Northern Lights in person. It was an amazing experience," he wrote on his Flickr page.

Greg Johnson at captured the display on all three of his web cameras in Hansville:

The sun has gone quiet now, but with the nights getting longer, our window for spotting the aurora is getting better with each passing day as we march toward winter solstice. Just need a strong enough solar storm-- and of course some clear skies to play along.

People often ask how to know when they'll be out -- I say the best source is That site will alert you to storms in general. But it takes a pretty solid storm -- if you look on the left side of the site, there will be a "kp" index-- really helps to have that at least be a 7 for Seattle-area lights.

Where to find them? Go someplace dark. The north Sound waterfront has had some success, but usually just getting away from Seattle is best.

Also note that these photographs are taken with long exposure -- while Northern Lights are possible to see with the naked eye around here, they'll always show up much better in photographs so don't expect to see quite the dazzling display, but most times you'll at least see something.