Northern Lights Over the Teton Mountains

Northern Lights and Meteor

There’s been a lot more activity in the northern lights lately over Jackson Hole, Wyoming and Grand Teton National Park. Many believed the peak of the solar cycle was going to hit last year, which turned out to be a relatively quiet year. With all the activity lately however, some are beginning to question whether we might be hitting the peak now, later than expected.

Regardless, skies have been lighting up recently over the area, with even more on the way! If you’re wondering how to know if they’re out in your area or not, keep an eye on a website called I check the data listed there every night to see if there’s any chance of seeing them where I live in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. While all the data listed there plays some role, the two main sections that I pay the most attention to are the Direction of the IMF (Bz) and the Kp-Index. If we get a strong southern direction of the Bz pushing below -5.00, or preferably below -15.00, that’s a great indicator that Grand Teton National Park could be seeing auroras. Likewise, if the Bz is south as described and the Kp-Index is exceeding 5.0, then we’ll probably be seeing the northern lights here in Jackson Hole! Typically, the auroras won’t be visible here without a Kp-Index of at least 6.0, but with other factors playing helpful roles, they can be visible with a smaller value.

If you’re interested in seeing the auroras, this is a great website to be in the habit of checking frequently as it starts getting darker. Even if it’s quiet early in the evening, activity can jump up in just a matter of a couple of hours, so be sure to check it throughout the night.

The following two time-lapses were shot within just the last week, both in Grand Teton National Park. The first was shot as storms were rolling in over Antelope Flats, and the second came from a longer night at the Taggart Lake Trailhead.