The past couple of days have been active ones for the Earth's atmosphere. The Sun spewed a bunch of stuff in our direction last week and the predicted stream of solar particles eventually hit on Saturday. Then Murphy's Law kicked in. Most places that should have been able to see the resulting aurora couldn't due to overcast weather. Oddly enough, it seemed the further south you went, the better your chances were that you could see it since the weather cleared up towards the WI/IL border. The problem with that is that the further south you go, the stronger the show has to be before you have a chance of seeing it. Looking at the space weather forecasts, this was looking to be good.
So I headed out around the time that this weather began clearing and went to one of my nearby go-to north facing spots. I really had no intention of trying to put together a decent time lapse at this spot due to a number of reasons I'll get to, but I had been wanting to capture something on this road for quite some time, so I was going to settle for just an image. The problem here is traffic. It seems no matter where I go late at night, I find traffic. And given that this is a north-south running road, I'll never get far before it's interrupted. So I started out shooting NW on the side of the road while waiting for the clouds to clear up and the moon to set a bit lower, thinking I could maybe catch some neat clouds. By about 1am it was clearing, the moon had set and now you could very visibly see a green glow across the entire northern horizon. I decided my shot was going to be right in the middle of the road pointing due north. And of course, traffic happened instantly. However, it wound up only happening twice over the next 2 hours (3 technically because one car pulled a u-ey to drive by me again). Seeing that I actually just let the shutter keep clicking away through all of the interruptions as I moved the camera out of the way and then try to reposition it in the same spot, I decided that maybe this could be a time lapse. It's a little funky, but it adds some movement to an otherwise still scene.
Then by about 3am, the clouds started coming back, and given that I was freezing, I called it quits. A camera sitting in the middle of the road at a spot where I had minimal time to react to someone approaching meant I couldn't sit in the car to warm up, and I was reaching my limit. So what we have here is about 3 hours worth of the night between midnight and 3am, with around 2 hours of it looking north at the aurora just outside of Stoughton, WI. 6 seconds per exposure across about 1200 frames running at 24fps.