6 November 2000: Boulder, Colorado

First, since I only watched activity before midnight, this was on November 5th local time (as opposed to November 6th "astronomer's time").

I was still at work when the sensors onboard the ACE spacecraft registered a huge magnetic shock at 6:24pm MST. After about 10 minutes of data came in, I sent out an 'urgent' update to my aurora alert list subscribers to warn them that major auroral activity would occur starting around 7pm MST or slightly afterwards. The magnetic shock hit Earth at 6:50pm MST, and shortly afterwards the major activity begun.

I had to rush home (on foot), pack up two tripods, a still camera, a camcorder, a jacket, and a water bottle. Since I didn't have time to get away from town to the north, I did the 5-minute drive to a local park at the foot of the north side of Flagstaff Mountain on the west edge of town. I hiked about 6-8 minutes to get a ways above the city. Even from the lighted parking lot, I could see red in the sky, as it was about 7:20pm by this time.

All the following photos were taken with a 35mm lens set at f/4, on Kodak Ektapress 800 film (a professional film that they may not make anymore; this had been sitting in my fridge for maybe a year). However, any 800 speed film will work well for a good aurora display. The exposure times were around 30 seconds, but I did not precisely time them. You can see few clouds in the shots.

The first bunch of photos were taken as soon as I got my camera set up, and are facing northwest. The red color was quite vivid visually, too.

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The next bunch of photos were taken shortly after the first bunch, but amazingly, I'm looking directly over the city of Boulder, and more or less towards the city of Longmont!

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The next four photos are a little later, and are looking back northwest again. By this time, the Moon is coming up, although it took a while for it to be a significant problem.

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Finally, here's one of the few shots I took that was looking more or less due north. This was also the last photo I took, probably around 9pm.

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