Photo Journal: Northern Lights Expedition, a Reporter's-Eye View

SPACE.com T-Shirt for Balloon Payload

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Project Aether: Aurora leader Ben Longmier holds up a SPACE.com T-shirt that rose to the edge of the Alaskan aurora in a weather balloon on April 11, 2012.

Project Aether Preparation

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Project Aether: Aurora chief Ben Longmier (left) studies the location of a landed balloon payload while other team members prepare payloads for a launch.

Flags and GPS Balloon Payload

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

A balloon payload "lunchbox" that carried a GPS tracking device and several small American flags nearly 20 miles into the Alaskan sky. Project Aether: Aurora will send these flags to schools for free.

SPACE.com T-Shirt on the Balloon Rig

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

A SPACE.com T-shirt made its way onto the rig that was launched toward the Alaskan aurora on April 11, 2012.

SPACE.com Reporter Mike Wall with Alaska's Northern Lights

Luke Kilpatrick

Alaska's northern lights dance behind SPACE.com reporter Mike Wall in this photo taken April 11, 2012, on the slopes of Murphy Dome mountain.

Weather Balloon Inflation

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Team members fill the weather balloon with helium early in the morning of April 11, 2012, most of the way up Alaska's Murphy Dome mountain.

Ben Longmier Holds Balloon Equipment

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Project Aether: Aurora leader Ben Longmier is set to send the weather balloon — which bore multiple cameras, small American flags and a SPACE.com T-shirt — to the edge of Alaska's northern lights display on April 11, 2012.[See our complete coverage of SPACE.com reporter Mike Wall's Alaska journey.]

Retrieving a Balloon That Kissed the Alaskan Aurora

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Project Aether: Aurora leader Ben Longmier stands with a weather balloon payload recovered April 11, 2012, after a snowshoe trek through the Alaska backcountry.

Alaska Backcountry Snowshoe Trek

Mike Wall/SPACE.com

Golden light fills the Alaskan air on April 11, 2012, as the sun sinks low in the sky and a snowshoe trek to recover a balloon payload nears its end.

Alaska Aurora Dances on April 12, 2012

Luke Kilpatrick

The aurora as seen from atop Murphy Dome mountain near Fairbanks in the early morning of April 12, 2012.

Have a news tip, correction or comment? Let us know at community@space.com.