Here is how 2022’s top 25 Aurora photos were taken

Jan 15, 2023

Roi Levi

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

Here is how 2022’s top 25 Aurora photos were taken

Jan 15, 2023

Roi Levi

Udi Tirosh is an entrepreneur, photography inventor, journalist, educator, and writer based in Israel. With over 25 years of experience in the photo-video industry, Udi has built and sold several photography-related brands. Udi has a double degree in mass media communications and computer science.

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“Reflection of Lights” by Itai Monnickendam

Every year, we adore the world’s best Aurora photos of the year, and 2022 was no different.

Actually, there are two types of Aurora lights – The Aurora Borealis (AKA The Northern Lights), and Aurora Australis (AKA Southern Lights). Both occur at The Northern And Southern Poles, respectively. If you want to take a stab at shooting the Aurora Borealis, there is a Northern Lights shooting guide here. But even if you just want to prepare, here are the 25 winners of The most outstanding Aurora imaging of 2022 awards.

Without further ado, here are the top 25 Aurora photos of 2022!

Aurora & Lunar Eclipse at the South Pole by Aman Chikshi

Aurora & Lunar Eclipse at the South Pole by Aman Chikshi
Aurora & Lunar Eclipse at the South Pole by Aman Chikshi

Last May 16, during a total lunar eclipse, the moon slid through Earth’s shadow and was completely immersed in the planets’ dark umbra for about 1 hour and 25 minutes. In this composited timelapse view, the partial and total phases of the eclipse were captured as the Moon tracked above the horizon from Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station. There it shared a cold and starry south polar night with a surging display of the Aurora Australis and central Milky Way. In the foreground are the BICEP (right) and South Pole telescopes at the southernmost station’s Dark Sector Laboratory. But while polar skies can be spectacular, you won’t want to go to the South Pole to view the total lunar eclipse coming up on November 8. Instead, that eclipse can be seen from locations in Asia, Australia, the Americas, and the Pacific. It will be your last chance to watch a total lunar eclipse until 2025.

This image was published by NASA and awarded by Astronomy Picture of the Day.

Additional photo information

This image is a composite of images shot over a five-hour period.

The background image is a single 20 seconds exposure with a sigma 24-70mm lens, at f/2.8, iso 3200 on a Sony A7RVI, captured at the peak of the eclipse. The array of moon images was captured with an old sigma 400mm film lens, on a Sony A7S, on a Sky Watcher Australia star adventurer tracker. We had a sustained wind of 15-20 knots, which brought the ambient temperature of -60C to -80C with windchill. Both cameras had to be housed in special heated foam boxes which I made, to prevent them from freezing.

Aman Chikshi: Instagram, Twitter

Double Arc by Giulio Cobianchi

Double Arc by Giulio Cobianchi
Double Arc by Giulio Cobianchi

These are the Arctic nights that leave you breathless! That night, I decided to spend it up there, with one of the most beautiful views of the Lofoten islands and with the desire to photograph the “double arc”, to add it to my “double arc” collection.

I have been planning this pano for a couple of years now, and finally, all the elements have aligned. It was not yet completely dark when I began to see a faint Milky Way in front of me, and I hoped that in the next hour, a faint Aurora would appear on the opposite side, creating an arc that would fit perfectly into the composition and that would not illuminate the sky too much by removing detail from our galaxy.  And so it was! What a night!

Under the Milky Way, you can see the Andromeda galaxy. In the middle of the “two arches,” a shooting star acts as a cherry on the cake, and above a colorful Aurora, there is one of the most beautiful constellations, the Big Dipper! Towards the west, you can still see the light of the sun which has recently gone below the horizon.

This image was published by NASA and awarded the Astronomy Picture of the Day

Additional photo information

Location: Mannen mountain, Lofoten Islands, Norway

Giulio Cobianchi: Website, Facebook

Aurora & Orion By Roi Levi

Aurora & Orion By Roi Levi
Aurora & Orion By Roi Levi

Rain and cold were dominant on my October photo tour of Iceland, but I persisted in chasing the chance to see the Aurora. One can only imagine my excitement when not only was the Aurora dancing, but the clouds also cleared up to the East so I could capture Orion, and I was able to “walk on water” to point it out in the frame!

This image is also published in NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day in Highlights of Aurora Best Images

Additional photo information

  • Camera: Canon EOS R Astro modified Camera
  • Lens: Sigma Art 14mm of F1.8
  • Additional Details: H alpha 20 sec X 13 Frames Iso 6400 RGB 1 Frames 13 Sec Exposure iso 800.

Roi Levi: workshops, website, Facebook, Instagram

Panoramic Lights by Victor Lima

Panoramic Lights by Victor Lima
Panoramic Lights by Victor Lima

Perfect night in the Kirkjufell mountain region, one of Iceland’s most visited and photographed natural attractions.
It was the third day of my photo tour of Iceland, and, as usual, we were exploring the Snæfellsnes peninsula in western Iceland. The plan was to visit the region’s main attractions during the day and try to photograph the Northern Lights during the night in the Kirkjufell mountain area, one of the most photographed mountains in Iceland.

The weather didn’t seem to help, as it was quite cloudy throughout the day. Analyzing the Windy application during the afternoon, I could see that there was a perspective of an opening in the clouds from 8 pm onwards. A little more excited about the likely good conditions during the night, I did a quick analysis on vedur.is about the conditions for viewing the aurora borealis that night.

The predicted KP index from 20:00 was 5, which already indicates a possibility of the occurrence of moderate to strong auroras. To conclude the analysis, I checked the information in the “NorthernLights” and “Aurora Forecast” applications to check the Speed, Bz, Density, and Bt indices, which are parameters that show information about the solar winds, determinants for the occurrence of the aurora borealis. These indices also indicated the occurrence of moderate to strong aurora borealis during the night. Now it was time to get readyץ

Additional photo information

Victor Lima: website, Facebook, Instagram

Aurora Arch by Benjamin Barakat

Aurora Arch by Benjamin Barakat
Aurora Arch by Benjamin Barakat

One epic night spent at such a beautiful & iconic place of Iceland, Vestrahorn/Stokksnes we were blessed by the Aurora Gods and Lady Aurora herself with this beautiful arc that reflected so perfectly and made a great composition for @wanderingpat to photo bomb! For those of you wondering, it’s a single-row panorama!

Additional photo information

  • Camera: Canon Eos Ra
  • Technical details: 4.0s f/2.4 ISO 3200 6 vertical frames

Benjamin Barakat: Instagram, Facebook, Website

Aurora Over Glacier Lagoon in Iceland By Sean Parker

Aurora Over Glacier Lagoon in Iceland By Sean Parker
Aurora Over Glacier Lagoon in Iceland By Sean Parker

Here is a new personal favorite photo I captured in Iceland last month at the famous Glacier Lagoon
in Iceland. I was here with my photography workshop group in just complete amazement as we watched the aurora dance above us. Weather wasn’t so kind to us during the day and clouds were expected most the night, but we kept an eye on it and found an opening and took full advantage of it! As we walked around looking for compositions we stumbled upon this ice chunk that had been washed up on the beach. This is a very common thing as ice chunks wash up on the beach from the distant glacier as they melt. This was my last photo of the night as the aurora was becoming faint but we all walked home with an unforgettable memory.

Additional photo information

  • Camera: Panasonic Lumix S5
  • Lens: Tamron 15mm G2 F/2.8
  • ISO: 6,400, Shutter: 15 Seconds
  • Technical details: 8 Photo vertical panorama
  • Location and date: Glacier Lagoon, Iceland, 10/29/22

Sean Parker: website, Facebook, Instagram

Aurora Lighthouse by Mary Beth Kiczenski

Aurora Lighthouse by MaryBeth Kiczenski
Aurora Lighthouse by Mary Beth Kiczenski

This is a remastered image from one of my favorite places. One of the things that bothered me about the original was how warped the lighthouse was due to the wide-angle distortion. I went into Photoshop and played around with the lens distortion correction in this version.

However, I still wanted the distortion in the ice, so this rather simple task ended up being more involved. Ha! I am rather pleased with the outcome. It’s nice to see straight lines on the building rather than angled walls! Wide angle is much more forgiving with the organic shapes of nature since we don’t expect those to be so angular and straight. Btw – there’s a chance for northern lights this week! Been trying to keep updates going in the stories. :). I have to work, so I will be sitting this one out.

Additional photo information

Mary Beth Kiczenski: website, Facebook, Instagram

Red Aurora By Ruslan Merzlyakov

Red Aurora By Ruslan Merzlyakov
Red Aurora By Ruslan Merzlyakov

Absolutely insane red pillars of the Aurora showed up above Limfjord in my hometown in Denmark. The happiness will never disappear when watching the sky glow like this.

Additional photo information

Ruslan Merzlyakov: Facebook, Instagram

Aurora SubStorm By David Erichsen

“Aurora SubStorm” By David Erichsen
“Aurora SubStorm” By David Erichsen

Every color of the rainbow takes turns dancing over the Delta Mountains in Alaska. This was one of the most breathtaking moments of my life, and I don’t say that lightly. I had just finished shooting the ice cave from my previous post and saw the lights starting to dance more quickly. What happened over the next five minutes was indescribable. I’ve been lucky enough to see the northern lights around 30-40 times, but never have I witnessed half of the colors I saw that night.

Additional photo information

David Erichsen: Instagram, Facebook

City Lights By Sean Parker

“City Lights” By Sean Parker
“City Lights” By Sean Parker

This was on one of my last nights in Reykjavík. I was watching a movie in my apartment, and I went on the balcony and saw an amazing light show and ran up to the church to catch this photo.

Additional photo information

  • Camera: Panasonic Lumix S5
  • Lens: Tamron 15mm G2 F/2.8
  • EXIF: ISO: 6,400, Shutter: 15 Seconds
  • Technical details: 8 Photo vertical panorama
  • Location and date: Glacier Lagoon, Iceland, 10/29/22

Sean Parker: Website, Facebook, Instagram

South Pole Station, Antarctica By Aman Chokshi

“South Pole Station, Antarctica” By Aman Chokshi
“South Pole Station, Antarctica” By Aman Chokshi

Alien world. Sheets of rainbow Auroras on the horizon, while the core of the Milky Way galaxy aligns with the @nsfgov South Pole Telescope. It’s a magical alien world down here.

Additional photo information

Aman Chokshi: Instagram, Twitter

The Peak Of Lights by Shadow Kuo

“The Peak Of Lights” by Shadow Kuo
“The Peak Of Lights” by Shadow Kuo

This was my second visit to this magnificent place, the mighty Segla peak, raised like a shark fin from the fjord of Senja island, I camped here for only this night, and the Aurora forecast didn’t look well then, but due to the schedule I didn’t have any choice, but I was blown away by so far the best birthday gift from the gods, yes it’s my birthday exactly the day, what an unforgettable night.

The Northern light exploded almost 360°. This composition is facing south, so it required Aurora flow to the southern sky, it’s really difficult to complete if the KP value is low, so it was an extremely lucky night! I used a total of four merged frames to complete this work. Three frames were taken at the blue hour for a high-detailed foreground with focus stacked and one frame from the night Aurora. You can also see the moon at the top-right corner, this is an extremely wide-angle Vertorama, and it’s the best way to capture this kind of image.

Additional photo information

  • Camera: Nikon Z7II
  • Lens: Nikon Z 14-24mm F/2.8S
  • Tripod: Marsace MT-1542
  • Monitor: BenQ SW321C
  • EXIF: Sky: 5s, F/2.8, ISO-1600, Foreground: 4s, F/16, ISO-100 *3 frame at blue hour
  • Location and date: Senja island, Northern Norway, 13/3/2022

Shadow Kuo: Facebook, website

Rainbow Auroras Above the South Pole by Aman Chokshi

“Rainbow Auroras Above the South Pole” by Aman Chokshi
“Rainbow Auroras Above the South Pole” by Aman Chokshi

We were out, performing some tests on the South Pole Telescope at 3 am, when Rainbow Auroras lit up the sky. I used a torch to illuminate the telescope’s reflective photogrammetry targets, which are used to measure the deformation of the dish. I also attempted to take a timelapse but hadn’t brought my insulated camera box with me to the telescope. With windchills in the -80℃ range, my camera died before I’d taken 50 images. Still, a spectacular night

Additional photo information

  • Telescope CATEGORY: Single
  • Camera: Sony A7RIV
  • Lens: Sony 14mm f/1.8
  • EXIF: f/1.8, 8s, iso 3200
  • Location: Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Aman Chokshi: Instagram, Twitter

Aurora and Bioluminescent Algae in Denmark by Ruslan Merzlyakov

“Aurora and Bioluminescent Algae in Denmark”
“Aurora and Bioluminescent Algae in Denmark” by Ruslan Merzlyakov

It was supposed to be cloudy and foggy, but to my surprise, the sky cleared, so I drove to the fjord, where I was met by the water glowing with blue color while a faint Aurora was dancing above the horizon. Wow, what an epic combo!

Additional photo information

Ruslan Merzlyakov: Facebook, Instagram

Aurora Australis Little Planet By Aman Chikshi

“Aurora Australis Little Planet” By Aman Chikshi
“Aurora Australis Little Planet” By Aman Chikshi

We’re seeing the first light of dawn down at the South Pole after nearly six months of darkness. I shot a spherical 360 deg panorama outside the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station a few days ago. On top of the image is the station, which has been my home for the past ten months. At the bottom is the ceremonial pole marker surrounded by the 12 flags of the original signatories of the Antarctic treaty, with a wild display of the aurora australis above them. A bittersweet moment to be losing these breathtaking night skies, but looking forward to a magical transition to sunrise.

This Image was published by NASA Astronomy Picture of the Day

Additional photo information

  • Category: Panorama
  • Camera: Sony A7RIV
  • Lens: Sony 14mm f/1.8
  • EXIF: f/2.2, 15s, 1600 iso
  • Location: Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station

Aman Chikshi: Instagram, Twitter

Inflight Entertainment by Ralf Rohner

“Inflight Entertainment” by Ralf Rohner
“Inflight Entertainment” by Ralf Rohner

We witnessed a strong Aurora Borealis during our Swiss International Air Lines return flight from our vacation. The unusual view from the passenger seat offered a chance to shoot the stunning display with the wing in the foreground. This is all the inflight entertainment I’ll ever need…

Shooting from the passenger cabin posed different challenges compared to shooting from the flight deck, and I was not very well prepared for the challenge. I had to handhold the camera and use a blanket to avoid reflections.

The image proves that capturing good night images from a passenger seat without sophisticated equipment is possible.

Additional photo information

Ralf Rohner: Website, Facebook, Instagram

Aurora Cave by Stefano Pellegrin

“Aurora Cave” by Stefano Pellegrin
“Aurora Cave” by Stefano Pellegrin

I spent a week in Iceland hunting Northern Lights. To have total freedom of movement to follow the clear skies every night, I lived in a car and made my itinerary day by day instead of booking all the hotels in advance. The plan worked; I shot the aurora for four nights out of a total of 7.

The final image is a pano of 5 horizontal shots. I have never seen a so bright and colorful Aurora dancing over my head.

Additional photo information

Stefano Pellegrin: Website, Instagram

Under Northern Lights by Stepffan Liberman

"Under Northern Lights" by Stepffan Liberman
“Under Northern Lights” by Stepffan Liberman

I was lucky enough to experience this spectacle at Kirkjufell in Iceland. In this panorama, the northern lights are reflected in the water, and you can also spot a photographer on the left. For me an unforgettable night. Thanks a lot to my fantastic group!

Additional photo information

Stepffan Liberman: Website, Instagram, Facbook

Aurora Cave by David Erichsen

“Aurora Cave” by David Erichsen
“Aurora Cave” by David Erichsen

It was on my Bucket list to photograph the northern lights dancing outside an ice cave. One 12-hour flight, a 3-hour drive, and a 2-mile hike later.

Huge thanks to @jakesloan and @live_free_run_far for perfectly having the entire cave lit up with Lume Cubes when I arrived. This was one of my first times using these awesome lights, and shots like this truly wouldn’t be possible without them. Thank you, @lumecube, for giving me a couple to play around with.

Additional photo information

David Erichsen: Instagram, Facebook

Frozen Lights by Mordi Shamir

“Frozen Lights” by Mordi Shamir
“Frozen Lights” by Mordi Shamir

I can’t say that I planned this shot because I was actually in my hotel room at the end of the day after guiding a tour with a few friends when I saw from the balcony that the green lady had come out to play…so I ran outside with my gear and composed a shot framing the mighty Kirkjufell mountain with the Aurora dancing over it!

Additional photo information

  • Camera: Nikon Z7
  • Lens: Zeiss 15mm F2.8
  • EXIF: Foreground shot on F7.1 iso 500 120 sec exposure + low-level lightning for 1 sec; Sky shot on F2.8 iso 5000.

Mordi Shamir: Facebook, Instagram

Reflection of Lights by Itai Monnickendam

“Reflection of Lights” by Itai Monnickendam
“Reflection of Lights” by Itai Monnickendam

The Northern Lights are amazing. Seeing them is an experience I wish everyone could have, and it’s a great pleasure bringing a friend to witness it for the first time. However, in photography, it’s a bit different. The lights, amazing as they can be, can’t stand on their own and must be a part of a strong composition that tells the story of the place, the time, and the experience.

That’s why I was so happy that everything converged nicely that moonlit night. An amazing show in the sky, a unique and less familiar location I found when preparing for the trip, and a wonderful group that encouraged me to stay out for a few more hours after a long day. Without a doubt, it was a night to remember!

Additional photo information

Itai Monnickendam: Instagram

Aurora in Godafoss By Miki Spitzer

“Aurora in Godafoss” By Miki Spitzer
“Aurora in Godafoss” By Miki Spitzer

I’m a nature and landscape photographer who shoots a lot in Iceland, Norway and Scandinavia and is addicted to taking pictures of the Aurora Borealis.

Like all photographs, the composition is the most important thing to consider in photographing the Northern Lights. I am always on the lookout for a foreground and composition that will blend well and guide your eyes skyward toward the Northern Lights. I always try to scout areas I intend to shoot in during daylight and mark the points where I will photograph at night.

Photographing the Northern Lights is not easy, very technical, and sometimes frustrating. I have to worry about the composition, exposure settings, and that the camera focus is appropriate for both the foreground and the Northern Lights. All of this needs to be done in darkness and very cold weather conditions.

At Godafoss, It was a special night. The Northern Lights danced in the sky, which was a surprise as it wasn’t in the forecast. I arrived at my favorite waterfall, Godafoss, located in the north of Iceland. I set up my gear and began to take pictures.
It was not easy. Icy drops of water flew off the falls and blew toward me and the camera doing their best to interfere with the photo, but in the end, it all paid off.

Additional photo information

Miki Spitzer: Facebook, Instagram

Arctic Heng By Anna Ross

“Arctic Heng” By Anna Ross
“Arctic Heng” By Anna Ross

The road to the village of Raufarhöfn, one of Iceland’s most remote and northern settlements, was long and endless. On our second day, we crossed the entire island from the south to the northernmost point in Iceland. * To be honest, getting to this wonderful point was worth it!

Between the months of September and March, the northern lights paint the sky of Iceland in a spectacular light show of colors.

Although the northern lights can be seen all over Iceland, there are special places far away from artificial light pollution, and one of those places is the Arctic Circle. ‏We were blessed with an unusual night. We looked at the sky and couldn’t believe our eyes as we arrived. The whole sky was painted in stunning colors of green, purple, and yellow. Without thinking twice, I found a composition, stood in the middle of the frame, and clicked. And the result is in front of you! Enjoy!!!

Additional photo information

Anna Ross: Facebook, Instagram

Catching the Night Lights by Ruslan Merzlyakov

“Catching the Night Lights” by Ruslan Merzlyakov
“Catching the Night Lights” by Ruslan Merzlyakov

It has been almost one year since my unforgettable adventures through Greenland. To this time, one of my all-time favorite photographs of the Northern Lights is this one, which I haven’t posted before – from the abandoned research station in Kangerlussuaq

Additional photo information

Ruslan Merzlyakov: Facebook, Instagram

Aurora & Orion By Roi Levi

“Aurora & Orion” By Roi Levi
“Aurora & Orion” By Roi Levi

I have always enjoyed the night skies. I started astrophotography following Robert Gandler’s work and learned more about space objects, and then my goal was to capture Aurora and Orion’s Red clouds. It was a hard mission that needed the right conditions to align. I needed a no-moon night, Aurora, and clear skies. I went to Iceland with the intention of capturing that frame, knowing if I made both an RGB frame and an H alpha frame, I’ll be able to get a lot of details from the night skies.

Thanks to the European Space Agency for the recognition of this shot for the first time and publishing my image to educate young people about astrophotography and space,

Thanks to our sponsors Optolong Astronomy Filters, Sunwayfoto Tripod and Focus on Stars Filters for the professional gear used in the creation of this image.

Additional photo information

Roi Levi: workshops, website, Facebook, Instagram

Capturing the Aurora: quick tips from leading photographers

Location scouting during the Day

Take the time to plan the composition for framing in the daylight. Determine the perfect foreground and shooting locations, and then go back there to wait for the Aurora to appear at night.

Panorama Shooting technique

Capturing the whole Aurora Bow requires shooting a panoramic image with an overlap of around 40% between frames.

Lighting the foreground

By using low-level lighting, we are able to bring out the details of the landscape in the foreground of our images.

How to Plan an Aurora Shot

Dark Skies

Search for Dark skies with a low Bortle scale. When imaging in the darkest skies, the actual colors captured are more prominent and colorful.

Check Aurora KP scale using apps

Apps predict Aurora probability by measuring in KP-index from 0 to 9. The higher the KP scale, the more powerful the aurora lights will be in your location.

No Clouds

Aurora must have clear skies. Use the Clear Outside app to predict cloud cover and to search for a dark location with no clouds for best night sky imaging.

Many thanks and congratulations to all of the talented photographers for their contributions to the night sky imaging community and for their submissions to this collection.

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One response to “Here is how 2022’s top 25 Aurora photos were taken”

  1. Haroen Dilrosun Avatar
    Haroen Dilrosun

    Awesome 👍