Photographer Nate Bolt got a bleary-eyed surprise when he checked the back of his camera while shooting a time lapse of his 11-hour flight from San Francisco to Paris.
What started off as a casual art project has garnered hundreds of thousands of astonished viewers - for something Bolt couldn't even see with his own eyes.
"I was as surprised as anybody else," he told msnbc.com.
The aurora borealis light up the night sky on a flight from San Francisco to Paris.
During the overnight flight, the half-asleep Bolt leaned over to check his camera and saw the aurora borealis lighting up the skies on its viewfinder screen.
Although he couldn't see the northern lights with his naked eyes, which he attributes to light inside the cabin, Bolt kept shooting. Over the course of the flight, the camera took more than 2,400 images.
Nate Bolt's camera and tripod on a flight from
See his pictures in motion and hear his remarks in our interview:
Photographer Nate Bolt tells TODAY.com's Dara Brown how he clicked pictures for 11 hours during his flight from San Francisco to Paris and captured the Northern Lights.
Update (4/11/2011 8:27pm EST): Many commenters have noted that the window Bolt was shooting out of would be facing south, and therefore question the veracity of the video. The likely flight path from San Francisco International to Charles de Gaulle follows a trajectory that typically crosses Thunder Bay and clips the southern tip of Greenland, far enough north that a moderate display of aurora borealis could be visible to the south.
Watch the original, full-length video
Northern lights, like never seen before
The aurora borealis over Norway
Must-see space pictures