Everyone knows that there is a lack of visible light for sight at night. However, many don’t realize there is also a kind of light called “infrared light” (IR) which is given off by both natural (sun) and artificial light sources. During the day, the sun saturates our atmosphere with IR light. During the night IR light emissions radiate back to Earth from the upper atmosphere. This phenomenon is called nightglow”.
For many people with a bucket list focused on the Great Outdoors, seeing the Aurora Borealis—commonly known as the Northern Lights—is usually a list topper. But it’s no longer enough just to see this extraordinary natural phenomenon. Folks want to capture the experience to enjoy it for years to come while sharing it with friends and family as well. Now, there’s a new and innovative way to do this: the Aurora day/night camera by SiOnyx. And Dan Cui, CMO of SiOnyx, recently had the chance to do just that.
“We went up to capture the Aurora Borealis with the Aurora day/night camera,” explains Dan. “We weren’t sure what we’d see or record since we’ve never seen the lights before. It took 11 hours of flights and airports to get to Yellowknife, the last northern city in Canada before the Arctic Circle. While flying in, we could see the northern lights from the airplane but it just looked like clouds. Once we landed, the lights were just outside our hotel, so we went out to film. Again, to the naked eye, the lights look like moving clouds and sometimes it was difficult to tell that they were ‘dancing’ – the movement you see in some of the videos. It’s not until you capture them on camera, with photo or video, that you really see them in all their glory.”
A Camera Like No Other for Lowlight Conditions
Dan’s party landed at a good time—the lights were active for the next few days after their arrival. Typically, viewers of the Northern Lights primarily see the shimmering green image, with highlights of blue, violet and pink at times. This effect can be seen in some of the video, especially the ones Dan’s group took using Aurora’s twilight mode, where the camera sensor really picked up on the colors.
SiOnyx’s Aurora camera performs exceptionally well in low light, and its night vision feature illuminates entities that aren’t visible to the naked eye, or with any other consumer camera on the market.
“Out in the dark,” Dan continues, “away from ambient light, while the Aurora was strong, there wasn’t quite enough light to use Twilight mode. So, I used either Night Vision, which shows a whole different range of patterns that you don’t see with the naked eye, and a new ‘pseudo color’ mode we created that allows the camera to operate in Night Vision mode with color.”
A Wider Range of Colors
Technically, because the IR cut filters are removed in this mode—filters which eliminate infrared light—viewers can see a different range of colors from the lights compared to what can be seen with the naked eye. That’s the reason “pink” northern lights can be seen in the video.
“We were able to capture a lot of video with the Aurora camera,” Dan says. “Anyone who wanted to get a good photo had to use extremely long exposure times up to 10 seconds while holding their pose in order to capture the light with all the color. The Aurora camera did extremely well, and many of the people I met wanted to know where to get one.”
To be sure you’re prepared to capture the Aurora Borealis in all its glory, make sure to bring along the Aurora camera by SiOnyx.