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Gorgeous Long Exposure Photography of the Northern Lights

northern lights

Astronomy photographer Tommy Richardsen provokes one to sit back and enjoy these absolutely captivating night landscapes, filled with the visual spectacle of the evening sky. The images showcase countless shimmering stars blending together with a diversity of magical colors, with distant mountains forming in the horizon.

night sky aurora

This glowing night display is actually the Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis filling the sky. The Norway-based Richardsen documented the dazzling night images, saying, “It’s rarely a dull day with a camera in hand.”

aurora night sky

The Northern Lights are in fact the product of collisions among gaseous particles found in the Earth’s atmosphere, with charged particles coming from the sun’s atmosphere. The various colors are caused by the type of gas particles that are colliding.

northern lights night sky

The most frequent aurora color, a pastel yellowish-green, is created by oxygen molecules located approximately 60 miles above the earth. Uncommon, all-red auroras are made by high-altitude oxygen, at heights up to 200 miles, while nitrogen creates blue or purplish-red aurora.

night sky northern lights

Glowing hues of purple, green and blue extend across the evening sky, silhouetted against mountains  and trees, producing  a spectacular and otherworldly view that is made all the more delightful by the billions of flashing stars.

long exposure night sky aurora

Richardsen shot the images in-camera and used just a bit of post digital processing to adjust color and add contrast. In each attention-grabbing photo, he invites one to pause from everyday life and all its hectic routines, and to meditate upon the awesome splendor of nature.

long exposure aurora borealis

The finished photographs seem like lively, vague waterfalls of color splashed across the dark skies. Richardsen lives and works in Norway, which lies above the Arctic Circle.  From there, a unique vantage point provides a considerable advantage not only in celestial observations, but also in photographing the evening sky.

aurora borealis night sky long exposure photography

Come and see another world that Richardsen quite brilliantly captured on camera here.

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Patricia Ramos the author

I am a freelance photographer who is no stranger to smudged lenses, long hours in front of the computer, heavy camera bags (and the back aches that ensued) and missing lens caps. If you know what I'm talking about, you probably have as much love and passion for photography as I do.

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