DANVILLE, MONTOUR COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — The Aurora Borealis, more commonly known as the “Northern Lights” lit up the evening sky in Montour County, late Monday night and an area firefighter/photographer caught it all on camera.
The celestial event was seen by Tony Bendele who captured images of the Northern Lights as the colors danced across the sky in Montour County around 11:30 p.m. on Monday. Bendele’s photos were taken at the Danville Preserve in Montour County.
According to Bendele, a full-time wedding/portrait photographer and a firefighter captain at Tower 54 – Americus Hose Company in Sunbury, the Northern Lights are very sporadic and are difficult to precisely predict when and where they’ll pop up, and the storm is even harder to see with “the naked eye.”
“As far as this specific event, it was a last-second dart out the door after I got an alert that they were happening. Had I gotten to the Montour Preserve 15 minutes later I would have missed those vibrant colors,” Bendele said.
Bendele said he’s had a lot of individuals ask him “When can I see them?” And it’s not a question that can be answered quickly or easily. Bendele explains that he bases his decisions on where and when to go by researching data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and space weather website.
Bendele also explained that in Pennsylvania, it’s far easier to see the Northern Lights with a camera, rather than with the human eye. But he says if you want to see the event, the most important thing is to get away from artificial lights, find a dark sky site with no lights, and the further north you go, the better chances you’ll have at seeing the Aurora Borealis.
“As far as seeing them, it’s a stunning experience. This specific event we were only able to see the pillars with our naked eye. Back in April during the major solar storm were actually able to see the vibrant colors on the horizon. I was like a little kid when we started capturing them on camera. It was pure excitement. 2023 was the first time I’ve ever seen them or captured them. This was actually the 3rd time in 2023 I’ve seen them in Pennsylvania now.”Tony Bendele – Photographer
According to Bendele, over the next two years, the Northern Lights appearing in Pennsylvania will be more frequent as the solar maximum approaches.