LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Thursday night, Adam Pensel was sitting at home when he got an alert on his phone. A short time later, he was out with his camera, capturing brilliant greens and reds over the glassy surface of Lake George.
“It was a really wild experience,” said Pensel, a Lake George resident and hobbyist photographer. “We (himself and fellow photographer Luke Dow) were really fired up, really excited.”
The northern lights were seen above Lake George on Thursday night, in a story told in photos captured by Pensel from Million Dollar Beach in the village. The cameraman arrived shortly after 9:30 p.m., when a notification from the “My Aurora Forecast Pro” app told him there was a chance of seeing the phenomenon. Usually, the app has given him a 1% chance of seeing the lights.
This time, it was 4% – still a small number, but four times as good as ever before. At first, a long exposure shot was needed to capture any color clearly. Pensel and Dow captured their best shots around midnight, when a spread of green lights was joined by scarlet reds.
“The last time I saw the lights, I was a kid,” said Pensel. “Here I am now, at age 35, and I got my chance again. I’ve always been hoping to see them in Lake George again.”
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration defines an aurora as forming when the atmosphere becomes charged with ion particles, generated from sunlight, moving away from the sun in solar winds. A glow from those particles, generated by contact with the planet’s magnetic field, creates a geometric storm. That may sound intimidating, but in reality, it’s what causes the Northern Lights.
It wasn’t just Lake George lighting up on Thursday night. On Brant Lake, resident Carl Heilman II captured a timelapse of the northern lights, running from 8:50 to 11:50 p.m. In the North Country, lights were spotted around Hounsfield and Sackets Harbor, near Watertown. NOAA data reported a geometric storm moving across the Northern Hemisphere on March 23, lighting up the sky region-wide.