Last week, an undetected solar storm sent a wave of charged particles hurtling toward Earth. On the night of May 31st, those particles crashed into our planet's magnetic field and rattled the upper atmosphere, igniting the sky in an unanticipated burst of purple, pink and green.
Astrophotographer Brad Goldpaint was lucky enough to be shooting at Oregon's Crater Lake when the surprise aurorae unfurled across the sky.
"Near 11pm, I was staring upward towards a clear night sky when suddenly, without much warning, an unmistakable faint glow of the aurora borealis began erupting in front of me," writes Goldpaint.
Immediately recognizing his opportunity, he packed up his equipment and drove to a northward-facing location to capture the display in full force.
"With adrenaline pumping," says Goldpaint, "I raced to the edge of the caldera, set up a time-lapse sequence, and watched northern lights dance until sunrise. The moon rose around 2am and blanketed the surrounding landscape with a faint glow, adding depth and texture to the shot. “
Featured at the top of this post is a time-lapse of the display, also shot by Goldpaint. Our favorite part? The last image in the shot, which shows the route of the International Space Station as it flew overhead at 2:35 am.
Check out loads more stunning astrophotography on Brad Goldpaint's website.