Aurora Borealis in Tennessee

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, shine over the skies of Southwest Tennessee during their North American visibility on May 10, 2024

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, shine over the skies of Southwest Tennessee during their North American visibility on May 10, 2024.

You have most likely seen by now that the aurora borealis was visible into the southern United States, thanks to a major geomagnetic storm due to solar flares and coronal mass ejections. That all sounds like I know what I am talking about, doesn’t it? Yes, the sun spewed out some plasma, which made its way to earth, causing geomagnetic storms. While these storms can sometimes disrupt things like communications and power systems, they also do some nice things to the aurora, like what you see in the photo above. But just one photo will not do, so here is another:

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, shine over the skies of Southwest Tennessee during their North American visibility on May 10, 2024

I was not sure that we would be able to see the aurora from our house, but I talked Laura and Jaylin into walking out into the front yard to see what we could see. The lights were somewhat faint due to our southern location, but we could barely make them out with our eyes. Our phones, however, showed a different story with a long exposure. So I went back inside and grabbed my camera and tripod, which I probably should have taken outside in the first place.

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, shine over the skies of Southwest Tennessee during their North American visibility on May 10, 2024

We stayed outside for a long time, because the lights were always changing, as you can tell from these photos. These “dancing lights” views did not last for all that long, and the sky changed to more solid colors soon after I took these photos, but we still stayed out enjoying the show.

More aurora borealis photos to come soon! And read more about these photos in the “About the Photos” section below.

Unexpected

At different times during the night, we all three commented that we never thought we would be able to see the northern lights from our home in the south. And I saw others say the same thing on social media as well.

I think the unexpected nature of it helped us enjoy seeing the lights even more. You would expect to see the northern lights if you go to the far north, although I would imagine that they are pretty spectacular to see there, especially as you can see them without the aid of a phone or camera. But to see them here in the Deep South was an unexpected treat.

Sometimes, the things that we are not expecting make an even bigger impact on us. If you are expecting someone to do something for you, it is nice. But someone does something for you that you are not expecting, it makes that act even more special.

If you have a chance, do something for someone who is not expecting anything from you. Show some love to someone without giving them a hint ahead of time that you are going to do anything. Surprise someone with something good. It just might have a big impact on them.

But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. - Romans 5:8

Love One Another

About the Photos

These photos were long exposures, which is probably pretty obvious. The first two were 20-second exposures, while the third was a 15-second exposure. I also adjusted the colors just a bit to make them even more vibrant. As I said, everything looked pretty dim to our eyes, so we were happy to be able to see the colors better with our phones and camera.

If you are wondering, the horizontal streak above the trees was the contrail from a passing airplane.

And the website compression for the photos to make them load fast enough to keep search engines happy is probably a bit detrimental to the photos. Sorry about that. One of the tradeoffs of trying to please everyone.

Photo: Each photo is a single JPG exposure, processed in Raw Therapee and GIMP.
Camera: Sony Alpha A7 II
Lens: Sony FE 28-70mm f/3.5-5.6 OSS lens
Date: May 10, 2024
Location: Williston, Tennessee

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About Burnsland
Burnsland is Steve Burns, with generous help from his lovely wife Laura. Steve is a husband, father, photographer, webmaster, writer, podcaster, artist, Christian. Steve enjoys sharing his photography, art, and stories through Burnsland.com, from the Burnsland World Headquarters in Tennessee.