Look back on all the exciting years of the Aurora Summit!

This page lists past events only. It does not contain current information. We’ll use this space to keep a record of past events, so people can find past presentations, reminisce about past presenters, or get an idea of what to expect at the annual conference.

Past Events

In our inaugural year, we welcomed 101 people from more than eight states and provinces to northern Minnesota, including guests from as far as Georgia and Manitoba. Learn more About the Aurora Summit.

Our Inaugural Event!
Aurora Summit 17
Celebrating the Art, Culture, Science, and Photography of the Aurora Borealis

Friday, Oct. 27 – Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017
Two Harbors, Minnesota
Register: (Closed)

Aurora Summit 18
Celebrating the Art, Culture, Science, and Photography of the Aurora Borealis

Friday, Nov. 2 – Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018
Two Harbors, Minnesota
Register: (Closed)

Do you have more questions? Get answers with the FAQ.

Recap: Aurora Summit 17

The Aurora Summit brings in expert photographers, scientists, authors, folklorists and artists who volunteer their time to present on topics related to the Northern Lights. Session topics vary from year to year, but they usually include a combination of scientific subjects, photography techniques, adventure guides and storytelling.

Presentations in 2017 included:
• How to Set Your Camera for Aurora Photography
• What to See & Photograph in the Night Sky
• Phenomenal Light Painting
• How to Post Process Aurora Photographs
• Aurora Folklore & Mythology
• Shooting the Milky Way
• Planning Trophy Nightscapes
• Intro to Forecasting Aurora
• Bizarre Nights: Fireballs, Proton Arcs, Iridium Flares and More

2017 Featured Keynote Speaker

At the inaugural conference, we were proud to present our keynote speaker, Bob King, creator of Astro Bob’s Astronomy for Everyone and the author of Night Sky with the Naked Eye and Wonders of the Night Sky You Must See Before You Die. Bob presented “How to Keep Your Eyes (and Ears) on the Aurora” during the Saturday evening banquet at Aurora Summit 17.

Creator of Astro Bob’s Astronomy for Everyone, Bob King has enjoyed the night sky and astronomy since childhood but chose photojournalism as his vocation and made the stars his lifetime hobby. He grew up in Illinois and received a teaching degree in German from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana. Because photography was another early passion, he worked as a photographer at a newspaper in Champaign before moving to Duluth to work at the News Tribune, where he’s been the photo editor since 1990.

He writes a regular astronomy blog called Astro Bob and teaches community education astronomy classes at the UMD planetarium. Bob also writes for the online astronomy websites Sky & Telescope and Universe Today. He lives in Duluth with his wife Linda and has two children, Katie and Maria.

His book “Night Sky with the Naked Eye,” published in November 2016, is an activity-based book aimed at both beginning and amateur astronomers. In it he guides readers to all the wonderful things visible in the night sky without special equipment. It covers satellites, the aurora, the brighter constellations, nighttime clouds and halo phenomena, planets, the moon, meteor showers and much more. He’s working on a second book about the sky to be published in spring 2018.

Recap: Aurora Summit 18

We are proud to announce the line-up of presenters for the Aurora Summit! On top of a full weekend program, Aurora Summit 18 will feature many breakout sessions, offering 12 presentations on Saturday related to the Northern Lights, Photography and the Night Sky.

During the simultaneous breakout sessions, experts present a wide variety of topics about the art, culture, science and photography of the Northern Lights. Guests may choose one presentation from each time slot, for a total of four. New this year, presentations will be rated Beginner (B), Intermediate (I) or Advanced (A). Here is the line-up for the Aurora Summit 18!

Session I

1) Basics for Night Sky Photography (B), with Terry Mann
Find out what it takes to capture aurora photos at night, beginning with camera basics. From camera settings to focusing at night, you’ll get tips from a seasoned photographer that will help you get started in night photography or improve the quality of your images.
2) From Apps to Kp: Aurora Forecasting for Beginners (B), with Bob King
Get a crash course in aurora forecasting, with advice that’s fit for absolute beginners. You’ll learn what creates a stunning aurora display, how to track and monitor space weather, and where to find information that will help you plan your next aurora chase.
3) 10 Keys to Gain a Social Media Following (I), with Jerry Thoreson
Want to get more eyes on your photography and online presence using social media? This session will give you pointers on best practices to use on Instagram and Facebook that will generate more engagement and help you build your social media following.

Session II
1) Essential Software and Apps for Aurora Chasers and Photographers (B), with Michael Jordan
Gain a broad knowledge for creating better photographs of auroras using essential software and apps to develop a plan that you can execute on location, with a focus on artistic elements.
2) Aurora Culture and Mythology (B), with Jim Rock
Delve into the culture and mythology surrounding the Northern Lights with a native of the Dakota, who is also versed in Ojibwe heritage. You’ll learn about the meaning and connections people have formed with the Northern Lights, over the course of centuries.
3) The Juno Mission and Jupiter’s Aurora (B), with Dave Falkner
For two years, the Juno spacecraft has been in a polar orbit around Jupiter studying the planet and its atmosphere. Find out what discoveries it has made about Jupiter, with special emphasis on the Jovian aurora and contrasting it with Earth’s aurora.

Session III
1) Aurora Borealis: A Photographer’s Guide to Geomagnetic Midnight (I), with Michael Jordan
Get a brief overview of the key points a photographer should know and understand in order to to capture the aurora. The photographer has developed a simple recipe for aurora forecasting with the importance of geomagnetic midnight, as part of a guide that includes hierarchy modes of auroral morphology, the auroral atlas and onset observation sectors of storm phases.
2) Meet STEVE: The Aurora Getting All the Attention (I), with Bob King
Amateur aurora photographers helped uncover an unusual form of the Northern Lights called STEVE, which stands for Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement. Pay a visit to this unique phenomenon to get to know STEVE better.
3) Aurora from Satellites Above and Photographers Below (I), with Margaret Mooney
VIIRS is the only satellite instrument able to detect the Aurora Borealis, producing only 4 to 6 snapshots of the North American aurora each night. This presentation will share stunning VIIRS Aurora imagery before describing an effort from the Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS) to match satellite images with citizen science ground-based pictures.

Session IV
1) Deep-Sky with Your D-SLR: Getting the Right Camera Gear (I), with Joe Polecheck
Get an overview of what camera gear and apps work best for planning and capturing the Milky Way, the Northern Lights and light painted scenes. You’ll come away knowing what equipment to use at night, including camera bodies, lenses, and intervelometers.
2) No Aurora Yet? Camera Techniques to Capture Elusive Light (A), with Terry Mann
Don’t waste clear skies! Learn the different types of imaging you can do while you are waiting for the aurora to appear, drawing on the photographer’s experience with light painting, aurora, star trails, the moon, storms and lightning, and even solar eclipses.
3) Establishing an International Dark Sky Park (B), with Mary Stewart Adams
Be inspired to find your stars again! Hear from the leader who took the initiative to establish the ninth International Dark Sky Park in the world at the Headlands in Northwest Lower Michigan in 2011, which was the first park to ever receive the International Dark Sky Place of the Year Award. Learn how you can make an impact in your community with dark skies.

The Aurora Summit team is building out the Sunday schedule, and new features will be announced as the event approaches!
• Travelogue Presentation, with Alaska Adventurers
• Between Fire and Ice: Desert Nights and Arctic Lights, including an outlook on Celestial Sights for 2019, presented by Bob Kelley, Retired Planetarium Director of the Scobee Education Center Planetarium
• Grande Finale!

Sessions may be subject to change.

For details, check out the 2018 Conference Schedule.

2018 Featured Keynote Speaker

Mary Stewart Adams will present a keynote speech on “The Storyteller’s Night Sky,” during the Saturday evening banquet at Aurora Summit 18.

Mary is a self-described star lore historian who led the successful initiative to establish Michigan’s only International Dark Sky Park in 2011, and for nine years led the park to award-winning recognition for innovative programming and dark sky advocacy, including the top Pure Michigan “Pure Award” for stewardship of the state’s natural resources, and the first-ever International Dark Sky Place of the Year Award from the International Dark Sky Association, in 2017.

Mary has received many honors for her work, and travels extensively teaching a humanities-based approach to understanding the night sky. You can hear Mary’s “The Storyteller’s Night Sky” each week on Interlochen Public Radio and online. The traveling exhibit of her “Images from the Storyteller’s Night Sky” showcases years of storytelling through watercolor art by her sister, artist Patricia DeLisa.

Keynote: “The Storyteller’s Night Sky”

“The night sky can be read like a mighty book, the alphabet of which is formed out of the human striving of ages to understand life’s greatest mysteries. The ancient Egyptians built pyramids and aligned them to the stars; in the Middle Ages, mighty cathedrals aimed upward to the highest mystery; and here in the 21st century, this striving is still so consistent and pervasive, that scientists also position arrays of telescopes in specific places for getting the best views in order to answer the same questions. To “know the stars” through the striving of human beings is like building a ladder out of the greatest achievements in literature, in art, in research, agriculture, architecture, civic organization, the list is endless. And so the storyteller’s approach, which allows us to dip into the mythologies, the sometimes wild imaginations, and to the sciences for finding our own answers.”

Mary Stewart Adams

2018 Featured Presenters

Many outstanding ideas and proposals were entered for presentations at Aurora Summit 18, through the submission process on our website. With so much talent in the room, we had to make some tough choices when it came to presenters.

We’re excited to announce the featured presenters for Aurora Summit 18! Follow our social media channels to learn more.

Aurora Summit 2018 Presenters:
• Mary Stewart Adams, Presenter and Keynote Speaker, Host of The Storyteller’s Night Sky on Interlochen Public Radio and Founder of Headlands International Dark Sky Park
• Dave Falkner, NASA Solar System Ambassador and author of the book “The Mythology of the Night Sky – An Amateur Astronomer’s Guide to the Ancient Greek and Roman Legends”
• Michael Jordan, Michael Jordan. Photographer and traveler who grew up on the savannahs of Africa, venturing through nature, sailing oceans, hiking remote locations, underwater diving and paddling turbulent waters
• Bob Kelley, Retired Planetarium Director who led a 40-year career at the Scobee Education Center Planetarium, serving as both as planetarium director and “Mission Flight Director” in the new Challenger Learning Center. He has always had a passion for celestial photography, taking several trips to Alaska to image the Northern Lights or to the deserts of west Texas to enjoy the darkest skies on Earth and views of the Milky Way.
• Bob King, Photojournalist, creator of Astro Bob, and author of two books including “Wonders of the Night Sky You Must See Before You Die”
• Terry Mann, Photographer and traveler who leads workshops in Wyoming, and whose experiences include Alaska Aurora chases, the Venus Transit in Egypt, storm chasing, climbing to a summit in the Andes Mountains, and witnessing three Solar Eclipses
• Margaret Mooney, Director of Education and Public Outreach at NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Meteorological Satellite Studies (CIMSS), who works with citizen science
• Jim Rock, Program Director of the Marshall W. Alworth Planetarium with interest in Ethno-astronomy and Archeoastronomy
• Jerry Thoreson, Independent Social Media Marketer and admin of Destination Duluth

Thank you to everyone who expressed an interest on our website. We appreciate your time, and we hope you’ll consider us again next year!

Aurora Summit 18: Conference Schedule

Aurora Summit 18, the second annual conference, will feature a keynote speaker, educational sessions, a panel discussion, a banquet with an Aurora Slideshow, and many opportunities for night sky photography. We also have some special features planned!

In 2018, we’re proud to present Keynote Speaker Mary Stewart Adams, host of “The Storyteller’s Night Sky” on Interlochen Public Radio and founder of the Headlands International Dark Sky Park.

Check out our Events page to learn about the presenters!

Conference Schedule

The final conference schedule for Aurora Summit 18 is posted below. Activities may be subject to change.

Friday, Nov. 2 — Sunday, Nov. 4, 2018
All activities take place at Superior Shores Resort & Conference Center, located on Lake Superior’s shore, in Two Harbors, Minnesota. 

2:00pm – 5:00pm: Registration at Host Hotel
5:00pm: Conference opens with Meet and Greet
5:00pm: Cash Bar
7:00 – 9:00pm: Dinner Buffet (Included in Registration)
8:00-9:00pm: Aurora Matters! Panel Discussion
9:00pm: After Hours Activities
• Night photography on your own

9:00 – 9:55am: Session I
• Basics for Night Sky Photography
• From Apps to Kp: Aurora Forecasting for Beginners
• 10 Keys to Gain a Social Media Following
10:15 – 11:10am: Session II
• Essential Software and Apps for Aurora Chasers and Photographers
• Aurora Culture and Mythology
• The Juno Mission and Jupiter’s Aurora
11:30 – Noon: Aurora Chasers Atlas — Meet new travel companions!
Noon – 1:30pm: Boxed Lunch (Included in Registration)
1:30 – 2:25pm: Session III
• Aurora Borealis: A Photographer’s Guide
• Meet STEVE: The Aurora Getting All the Attention
• Aurora from Satellites Above and Photographers Below
2:45 – 3:40pm: Session IV
• Deep-Sky with Your D-SLR: Getting the Right Camera Gear
• Establishing an International Dark Sky Park
• No Aurora Yet? Camera Techniques to Capture Elusive Light
3:45pm: Group Photo in the Lobby
5:00: Cash Bar Opens
6:00-9:00pm: Aurora Summit Banquet (Included in Registration)
• Featuring Keynote Speaker Mary Stewart Adams
• Aurora Slideshow
9:00pm: After Hours Activities on Superior Shores Beach
• Night Photography
• Aurora Chasing
• Light Painting
• Beach Bonfire

Sunday Special Features
9:00-10:00am: Travelogue Presentation, with tour group from Alaska Adventures
10:00-10:30am: Break for check out; Book signings
10:30-11:30am: Between Fire and Ice: Desert Nights and Arctic Lights
• Including an outlook on Celestial Sights for 2019
11:30am: Grand Finale: Aurora Awards, Raffle Prizes, Photo Review
12:30pm: Farewell; Lunch on your own

Opportunities After Hours

At the Aurora Summit, there’s time to enjoy other activities on your own, before and after each conference day. Located on the hotel property, Superior Shores Beach in Flood Bay offers a pebble beach perfect for viewing and photographing the Northern Lights.

Opportunities after hours include:
• Sunrise Photography on Lake Superior’s North Shore
• Rock Beach Bonfire at Superior Shores
• Night Photography, Aurora Chasing & Light Painting

Get event updates on Facebook or Twitter! We also encourage you to post with the hashtag: #AuroraSummit18

NOTE: This page is reserved for Archives. Information here does not apply to the current event. 

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