Live Webinar: How to Chase and Photograph Auroras

Want to learn how to take stunning photos of dazzling Aurora? Join Sky & Telescope's live webinar on Monday, March 5th, with National Geographic photographer and founder of The World at Night (TWAN) program Babak Tafreshi  as he reveals his techniques for capturing stunning images and time-lapse videos of both northern and southern lights.

Aurora Borealis or the Northern Lights above winter landscape of Lapland, northern Sweden, by Babak Tafreshi

As we approach the equinox on March 20–21, chasing auroras is on the bucket list of every nightscape photographer. But there are challenges to overcome. Where is the ideal location, far enough north in magnetic latitude but not too far north? Where are the best destinations that are accessible by routine flights? Where are the lowest latitudes where auroras would appear prominently, and in which hemisphere? When in the year is “aurora season” and why? How do you prepare for major solar activities and possible aurora storms?

Capturing photos of auroras over landscapes was the job of highly skilled professional photographers in the film era. But digital cameras have put them well within reach of even casual hobbyists. Using modest DSLR cameras aurora displays are easy and fun to photograph when you’re using the right settings and being patient for favorable conditions. Babak will explain the technical aspects of how to photograph these mesmerizing lights and will recommend the best lenses, accessories, and camera settings.

Auroras are also diverse in color. Green is the most usual color and the easiest to detect in visual observing. There are rare occasions when you can also clearly see other colors, but the camera can reveal them far better. Purple-blue, yellow, red: the challenge is how to record and process these colors without getting an overcooked, saturated image. Babak will share tips on processing aurora photos for a natural-looking result.

That's Monday, March 5th, at 2:00 p.m. EDT (18:00 UTC). Price: $29.99

Buy the webinar in our online store, and you'll receive an email to register for the event. Each registration also comes with access to the archived version of the program and materials for one year. You don’t have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation. But if you do, you can chat with Babak and ask questions. Any questions that the live presentation doesn't get to will be included in a follow-up email.


  • When and where to look for aurora
  • The most favorable aurora destinations
  • Technical tips on cameras, lenses, and settings to capture the best images
  • Tips on image processing


  • Both serious photographers and hobbyists with little knowledge of astrophotography
  • Daytime photographers interested in learning how to shoot the night sky
  • General travel enthusiasts interested in photography
  • Amateur astronomers interested in learning to take nightscape photos
  • Advanced nightscape photographers with specific questions
  • Science journalists, communicators, and educators who could use astrophotos in their work



Babak Tafreshi

Sky & Telescope Contributing Photographer Babak Tafreshi, a National Geographic photographer and leader of The World at Night program (, is a master at nightscape imaging by merging art, culture, and science. His images reconnect people across the globe with the beauty of the night sky and the value of preserving natural nights.

Tafreshi is also a science journalist, photo ambassador for the European Southern Observatory (ESO), and a board member of Astronomers Without Borders (AWB). Born in Tehran, he is now based in Boston but could be anywhere on the planet seeking nightscapes to photograph. In the past two decades he has spent about a thousand nights imaging under stars on seven continents. For his global contribution to night-sky photography, he received the 2009 Lennart Nilsson Award, the world’s most recognized award for scientific photography at the time.

You can see some of Babak's time-lapse videos on Vimeo, National Geographic Motion, The World at Night project, and @babaktafreshi on social media (Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook).


Each registration comes with access to the archived version of the program and any materials for one year. You don’t have to attend the live event to get a recording of the presentation. You’ll receive a copy of the webinar presentation in an email that goes out a week after the live event. In all Sky & Telescope webinars, no question goes unanswered. Attendees have the ability to chat with the instructor during the live event and ask questions, and any questions not covered in the live presentation will be included in the follow-up email as well.

The webinar is broadcast via the Internet, using GoToWebinar, with live audio delivered through your computer speakers or over your telephone. The live webinar’s visual presentation is displayed directly from the Presenter's computer to your computer screen. The Q&A is managed through a chat-style submission system with questions being read and answered by the Presenter for the entire class to hear. In the event that some questions are not answered during the live session, an e-mail with questions and answers will be sent to all webinar attendees. By attending the live webinar and asking questions, your full name may be stated during the live event and captured in the recording.


All you need is a computer or other device and an Internet connection. You’ll be able to view the presentation and listen to the audio over computer speakers; however, you’ll enjoy better audio quality if you use a telephone. For complete system requirements, see this page.

You can check your system’s compatibility automatically before the live webinar by visiting this page.

Don't forget,  Monday, March 5th, at 2:00 p.m. EDT (18:00 UTC). Price: $29.99. Sign up here!

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