SONY

menu
Search button in the site

Open the search area of the siteく

Yuzo Koga Photo Exhibition Beyond the sky - Auroras Spun by Time and Data -

Surrounded by a man-made world of radio waves crisscrossing the airways, tall buildings arrayed in groves and tree-lined streets that prove our awe of Mother Nature, the evening sky can seem small through the slivers of space in the skyline. But, up there some 6,000 km away are spectacles of dancing light. Though not visible to the eye, that light has been my life pursuit - a pursuit that has led me down a path of computers and virtual reality to visualize.
Ever since experiencing an aurora explosion in Alaska in 1993, I have wanted to reproduce that defining moment in my career as an engineer with my own hands. Moreover, given the uniqueness of that celestial event, I have always wanted to share it with others. I made it my goal to bring the auroras to the general public and set out on my quest.

At first, without the proper equipment for photographing auroras, I tried using computer graphics to reproduce the faintly lit, wildly morphing phenomena. It was the dawn of the internet, so I provided breaking news on auroras from Scandinavia using a laptop computer and a digital camera, which was new to the world at that time. Eventually, by 2006, I developed a monitoring system with an ultra-high sensitivity video camera, installed it in an observatory in Alaska and started streaming auroras live. Since the real-time images from Alaska every day can be watched on a cellphone or projected on a dome, it has made me feel that the day the aurora explosion I am constantly searching for is not far away.

In these 11-plus years, there have been great technological advancements and noticeable changes in the polar atmosphere, which the monitoring system has captured with over 2 million photos and even more daunting time-elapsed movie footage. For this exhibition, I have selected some prints and data recordings from the massive amount of data that show you what auroras look like, as well as linked Alaska and Ginza to provide a real-time Alaskan sky.

Yuzo Koga Profile

Born in Toyoake City, Aichi Prefecture in 1970. Currently residing in Tokyo.
Encountered an aurora explosion on the very first night in Alaska in March 1993 when on a backpacking adventure during his college years. Was moved to the point that he made auroras the focus of his career in engineering.

Chose sports engineering as his major in graduate school with the objective of learning about computer control and image processing, and provided support to athletes competing in the Nagano Winter Olympics.
Was engaged primarily in R&D of image processing systems while working for an electrical equipment manufacturer, when he went independent and launched a company in 1999 on the eve of the IT Revolution.

Began providing “aurora” information over the internet at the start of 2000, after which he ignited an aurora boom.

Set for himself the goal of creating a way for people around the world to experience actual auroras from anywhere. Then, in 2006, developed a monitoring system that incorporated an ultra-high sensitivity movie camera, installed it at an observatory in Alaska and launched by himself a live aurora broadcast project that was the first in the world to support dome projection.
While continuing his “Live! Aurora” project since 2006, has actively applied the technologies and experiences gained therefrom to other engineering and creative pursuits.

Has been introduced in the Asahi Shimbun’s “Hito” column, Yomiuri Shimbun’s “Kao” column, Mainichi Shimbun’s “White Book on Scientists and Engineers”, IHT / Asahi’s “Homo Sapiens”, NHK’s “The Cosmic Shore” special and World Business Satellite’s “Trend Tamago” and other presentations.

Live! Aurora Website
Live! Aurora Twitter

Literature

“Why I Shared Auroras with the World” (Seibundo-Shinkosha)

DVD

“Live! Aurora Best Selection 2006 / 2007” (Nippon Columbia)

Awards

2008
Science Journalist Award (Japanese Association of Science & Technology Journalists; Youngest ever to receive the award at the time)
2011
Commendation for Science and Technology by the Minister of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology