Northern Lights from West Seattle: Aurora visible on Alki

October 8, 2012 at 10:40 pm | In West Seattle news, West Seattle weather | 22 Comments

(Click photo to see larger image – note the Big Dipper!)
10:40 PM: WSB contributing photojournalist Nick Adams got that view of the Northern Lights off Alki a short time ago. We had heard about the Capitol Hill sighting early today – our friends at published photos – then local meteorologist Patrick Kelly tweeted that they were likely visible tonight … and here’s what Nick saw. (Here’s what he used to track it.)

11:56 PM: Went out to see just how visible it was. From Alki’s west end, parallel with 63rd, very faint. Beautiful sky show overall, though, so many stars (and planets) visible. Here’s more info from


  1. So beautiful! what time was the picture taken?

    Comment by Kip — 11:05 pm October 8, 2012 #

  2. That’s an incredible picture!! Thanks for sharing it.

    Comment by M — 11:15 pm October 8, 2012 #

  3. What a wonderful land and space we live in!!

    Comment by shed22 — 12:06 am October 9, 2012 #

  4. Aurora and the Big Dipper, amazing and beautiful!

    Comment by seewhatsealionsstart — 12:10 am October 9, 2012 #

  5. I woke up my daughter an hour ago, headed down to Alki. Considering we were viewing across Eliott Bay the Aurora was impressive – a somewhat faint, pronounced green band arching across the sky with verticle streaks…a beautiful sight.

    Comment by chris — 12:16 am October 9, 2012 #

  6. Awesome. I walked around for a bit and didn’t see anything but hopefully if theyre back later someone else gets more pictures

    Comment by Patrick Elliott — 12:18 am October 9, 2012 #

  7. I’m guessing that pic was a long exposure, it’s not likely we’ll ever have northern lights that visible here…

    Comment by alex — 8:48 am October 9, 2012 #

  8. Patrick, I honestly couldn’t see much of anything with my naked eye. It wasn’t until my husband took that photo that you could see just how green it really was out there.

    Comment by Joan — 9:30 am October 9, 2012 #

  9. Long exposure would have blurred the stars in the shot (the relative motion would have shown visible movement in anything over a second or so.) More likely this is an HDR composite, which a lot of digital cameras can do automatically now. Nick – care to share?

    Comment by MAS — 9:51 am October 9, 2012 #

  10. Now I wont have to spend all that money to go to Iceland. :)

    Comment by M. — 10:09 am October 9, 2012 #

  11. I also went down to Alki, nr the Alki Tavern around midnight. Did my best to remove light behind me and in front of me. Thought I might have seen a slight bit of green but not sure. Should have taken the ferry West to see it better. Still cool that we have the Northern lights down here!

    Comment by JonF — 10:11 am October 9, 2012 #

  12. Thanks, WSB! Husband and I jumped off the couch (half-asleep) at 11:45 and headed toward Alki. Did see several instances of faint vertical bands — my first time seeing the northern lights and something I’ve wanted to see my entire life.

    Can’t say last night’s modest display was enough to scratch it off the list, but I was still pretty excited about it.

    Comment by photon — 11:58 am October 9, 2012 #

  13. Hi Everyone,

    Thanks for looking!

    The photo is straight from the camera. I’ve never done any HDR type of photos. I photographed it with my Canon 5D Mark II with ISO at 1250 and aperture at 1.4 and a shutter of 1.6 seconds. I was going to open it up for a longer exposer but the tripod was somewhere deep in my trunk.

    Comment by Nick Adams — 12:05 pm October 9, 2012 #

  14. Thanks, Nick, for sharing your work and how you did it:)
    Your photography is a treat for the eyes.

    Comment by Holli — 12:24 pm October 9, 2012 #

  15. Great work, Nick!

    Comment by Chris W. — 12:32 pm October 9, 2012 #

  16. Would you be willing to share the original? I would love to use this as my background if I could get a large enough resolution.

    Comment by KC — 12:35 pm October 9, 2012 #

  17. Great picture Nick – I sat straight up in bed and sat at my window for 20 minutes hoping to see something (which I unfortunately didn’t).

    Also love your picture of the whale with the sunset!

    Comment by EmmyJane — 1:01 pm October 9, 2012 #

  18. I’m glad you like them! Here is a link to scenic images that can be viewed or purchased.

    Comment by Nick Adams — 5:42 pm October 9, 2012 #

  19. When’s the next time? Had no idea these were ‘visible’ from down here

    Comment by junctioneer — 10:01 pm October 9, 2012 #

  20. Unpredictable, unfortunately …

    Comment by WSB — 10:08 pm October 9, 2012 #

  21. I am soooooooooooooooooo going to try to see these tonight. I have never ever seen them. Always miss out. Hope they are visible tonight.

    Comment by ~~HockeyWitch~~ — 10:18 pm October 9, 2012 #

  22. We will likely see these more in the future as the sun’s energy peaks and over the next 4-5 years..

    Comment by DG — 10:06 am October 12, 2012 #

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