"Maelstrom"

                                     Placer River, Portage, Alaska
                                             October 30, 2003

    During late October 2003, the sun unleashed a pair of solar flares as large as had ever been observed. These tremendous flares resulted in spectacular auroras for many parts of the globe. There was a short lull between the first solar storm and the arrival of the second flare at the earth and the evening of October 30th started out fairly quietly. One thing that was noticable though was that the whole sky had a faint glow. This was the remnant of the first flare which had completely charged the upper atmosphere. There was a little bit of auroral activity fairly early in the evening but then things grew quiet.
     Then, just before midnight, a bright ray suddenly formed in the east where moments before there had ben nothing.Reaching up from the Chugach Mountains,. the ray grew rapidly in intensity as it began to show a reddish hue. It grew in size and started to fill the eastern sky while it spread across the north. The red was now vivid to the naked eyeand it resembled great flames leaping from the mountains.
    This amazing aurora is seen here reflecting its light in the Placer River, located about an hour east and south of Anchorage.
    I used a 6x9 cm. home-built medium-format camera with a 50mm wide-angle lens and Fuji Provia 400F film to capture the scene.
 
    This image is availible in the following sizes: 5x7, 6x9, 8x12, 11x15 and 12x18

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