Northern lights from East Camino Cielo

Northern Lights in Santa Barbara, edhat
Northern lights seen from E. Camino Cielo in Santa Barbara on May 10, 2024 (Photo: Ariana V.)

By Ariana V.

Northern Lights seen from E. Camino Cielo on Friday, May 10th.

I took these using an iPhone at 3 seconds exposure but you could see the pink and columns with the naked eye as well.

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  1. Since we’re heading into a solar maximum, we may get more chances at seeing auroras this far south for a couple of years.

    You can sign up at for a text message to be sent to you whenever the magnetic K-index in your location indicates an aurora is possibly visible.

  2. If you are going to travel up above the marine layer, be okay with driving through near zero visibility fog. The top has been around where Painted Cave Rd/Old San Marcos Rd cross 154. Above, perfectly clear and quite warm during the day. But the last half mile to get there you will driving through dense, drizzly fog and (hopefully) going very, very slowly. If you are not used to driving The Pass in the fog, don’t. It’s dangerous and certainly not fun. (If) you make it to Camino Cielo, be advised that there are few places to park and fewer places to turn around when you cannot.

    Let’s hear from some of you who made the journey!

  3. This far south, don’t expect to see colors visually. The aurora will much more likely look like a pale gray haze, perhaps with some vertical striations, along the northern horizon. A time exposure with a digital camera should show the reddish color of fluorescing oxygen at altitude. Bracket both the exposure timing and ISO setting to find what works best.

    That’s also where the dome of light pollution from Bakersfield appears, but it won’t show color.

  4. I don’t know how that posted i guess I hit the wrong button. (Previous comment by me. ) I went up on my motorcycle and it was a wet fog. But once out it was really nice. I saw the pink sky but didn’t see columns. I was up there from about 1130 to 12:30 or 1:00. It was quite underwhelming. I’m so jealous about every other person in the world it seems got to see extravagant aurora. Some of the pics on space weather. Com were just amazing. Angels and just beautiful formations. I’m putting viewing an aurora somewhere in the northern latitudes on my bucket list.

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