25 of the Best Aurora Photos of 2022

One of the gorgeous niches of nighttime landscape imaging is aurora photography, which shows the dazzling natural light shows seen in the sky when charged particles from the Sun ripple across Earth’s magnetic field.

The gallery below compiles 25 of the most highly-acclaimed aurora photos captured in 2022. These were photos featured by international space agencies, top-rated by photography magazines, and widely shared on social media.

“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.

Photographer Aman Chikshi was honored by NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for his photo captured at the South Pole.

“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.

Photographer Giulio Cobianchi was honored by NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day for his photo captured near the North Pole.

“Aurora & Orion” by Roi Levi

Rain and cold were dominant on my October photo tour of Iceland, but I persisted to chase the chances to see the aurora and 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!

Photographer Roi Levi was honored by NASA’s Astronomy Picture of the Day in Highlights of Aurora Best Images.

“Panoramic Lights” by Victor Lima

Perfect night in the Kirkjufell mountain region, one of the most visited and photographed natural attractions in Iceland. 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 main attractions of the region 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 the website www.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 ready.

“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 her self 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!

“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 of 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.

“Aurora Lighthouse” by MaryBeth 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. In this version, I went into Photoshop and played around with the lens distortion correction. 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. By the way, there’s a chance for northern lights this week! Been trying to keep updates going in the stories. I have to work, so will be sitting this one out.

“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.

“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 gotten done shooting the ice cave from my previous post and saw the lights starting to dance a bit 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.

“City Lights” by Sean Parker

“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.

“The Peak Of Lights” by Shadow Kuo

This was my second visit of 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 lights explode 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 4 frames merged to complete this work, 3 frames were taken at the blue hour for the highly detailed foreground with focus stacked, and one frame of 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.

“Rainbow Auroras Above the South Pole” by Aman Chokshi

We were outperforming some tests on the South Pole Telescope at 3am 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 attempted to take a timelapse too 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.

“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 faint aurora was dancing above the horizon. Wow, what an epic combo! In Nykøbing Mors. In Denmark.

“Aurora Australis Little Planet” by Aman Chikshi

First Light of Dawn at the South Pole CATEGORY: Panorama LOCATION: Amundsen-Scott South Pole Station STORY: We’re seeing the first light of dawn down at the South Pole after nearly 6 months of darkness. A few days ago, I shot a spherical 360 deg panorama outside the Amundsen-Scott South Pole station. On top of the image, you can see the station which has been my home for the past 10 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.

“Inflight Entertainment” by Ralf Rohner

During our Swiss International Air Lines return flight from our vacation, we witnessed a strong Aurora Borealis. The (for me) 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 poses 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 used a blanket to avoid reflections. The image proves that it is absolutely possible to capture good night images from a passenger seat without sophisticated equipment.

“Aurora Cave” by Stefano Pellegrini

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 shoot the aurora 4 nights out of a total of 7. The final image is a pano of 5 horizontal shots. I had never seen a so bright and colorful aurora dancing over my head.

“Under Northern Lights” by Stepffan Liberman

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

“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.

“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!

“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!

“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 most important thing to consider in photographing the Northern Lights is the composition. I am always on the lookout for a foreground and composition that will blend well and guide your eyes skyward towards 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 with the Northern Lights dancing 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 towards me and the camera doing their best to interfere with the photo, but in the end, it all paid off.

“Arctic Heng” by Anna Ross

The road to the village of Raufarhöfn, one of the most remote and northern settlements in Iceland, was long and endless. We crossed the entire island from the south to the northernmost point in Iceland on our second day. * 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, as we arrived we looked at the sky and couldn’t believe our eyes, the whole sky was painted in green, purple, and yellow stunning colors. Without thinking twice I found a composition, stood in the middle of the frame, and clicked. And the result is in front of you!

“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.

“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 Red clouds. It was a hard mission that needs the right conditions to align. I need a no-moon night, aurora, and clear skies. I went to Iceland with the intention to capture that frame, knowing if I’ll make both an RGB frame and an H alpha frame, I’ll be able to get a lot of details from the night skies.

Interested in capturing an aurora photograph yourself? Here are some guiding tips and planning pointers from photographer Roi Levi and other leading photographers in the field:

Scouting Location in the Day: Take the time to first plan the composition for framing in the daylight to determine the perfect foreground and shooting locations, and then go back there to wait for the aurora to appear at night.

Panorama Shooting Technique: To capture the whole Aurora Bow requires shooting a panoramic image with an overlap of around 40% to the next frame.

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.

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 App “Clear Outside” to predict cloud cover and to search for a dark location with no clouds for the best night sky imaging.