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AuroraMAX observatory

AuroraMAX makes it possible to watch the northern lights in high definition, broadcast live from the Canadian North, during the aurora season, between August and May.

AuroraMAX: watch the northern lights live from the Canadian North, during the aurora season. Credit: Canadian Space Agency

AuroraMAX is a Canadian aurora observatory. By means of a ground camera in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, you can see the aurora from the comfort of your home.

The camera turns on automatically as soon as the Sun sets in Yellowknife during the aurora season. The countdown timer shows how much time is left until the broadcast starts.

Why are AuroraMAX images round?

Imagine that you're lying on your back and you can see everything around you. That is what AuroraMAX shows you.

AuroraMAX's main camera is an all-sky imager. It shoots a 180-degree field of view, which produces circular images that show the entire night sky. The circumference of the circle is actually the horizon all around the camera. If you look carefully, you will see the tree tops even in the upper portion of the image.

AuroraMAX: more than just a camera!

AuroraMAX is a public outreach initiative that aims to raise awareness of:

AuroraMAX is a collaboration between four partners:

The AuroraMAX logo, designed by James Pugsley of Astronomy North, symbolizes the cause-and-effect relationship between our star and our planet. A prominent green spike represents the changing nature of the aurora, set against the powerful source behind the solar wind—the Sun.

Technical specifications

Location: Yellowknife, NWT
Longitude: 114°21'W
Latitude: 62°26'N
Main camera: Colour all-sky imager
Additional cameras: Two digital SLRs

Lens: 180° fisheye
Shutter interval: 0.00 seconds
ISO: 500
Aperture: f/2.8
Exposure time: 5 seconds

The image is refreshed every 10 seconds.

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