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Aurora borealis surprises Air France passenger, awes viewers [VIDEO]

Aurora borealis at 30,000 feet: a passenger flying from San Francisco to Paris took some amazing time lapse photos of what turned out to be an aurora borealis light display in the night sky. The photographer turned his shots into a video, which has gone viral online.

Aurora borealis as seen from 30,000 feet out the window of a passenger flight from San Francisco to Paris

Vimeo screen shot/Nate Bolt

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When they take an international flight most people's top concerns are catching their plane and not losing any luggage, but not Nate Bolt. When Bolt took an 11-hour flight from San Francisco to Paris he had more on his mind than catching some Z’s.

Equipped with a professional camera, a tripod, and a time-lapse controller, Bolt attempted to capture the entire flight in a series of still photos, captured every few seconds. He had planned to combine the still photos to create a movie but halfway through the flight he saw something he didn't plan on.

Though he couldn't see it with his naked eyes, the photo previews were clearly showing a vivid aurora borealis. The subtle greens weren't noticeable with just a casual glance out the airplane window, but the long exposure of the camera enhanced the barely detectible light and colors of the night sky and amplified the aurora borealis to make for a colorful series of still photos.

Once on the ground, Bolt says he spent 10-15 hours stitching together all 2,459 still photos into a two-minute movie that has become an Internet sensation.

While the video is fast-approaching the view count of Youtube's most viewed aurora borealis video, it hasn't caught up yet - and not surprisingly - that video is something to behold as well.

Watch Nate Bolt's video here, and let us know what you think below.


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