Sunday, June 2, 2013

Aurora Borealis, Wenatchee, Washington

 usbackroads destination--Aurora Borealis, Wenatchee, Washington

This display started on May 31, 2013 and continued for a few hours on June 1st.

The farther north you go the greater chances of seeing the Aurora Borealis.  The active sun cycle with lots of sunspots also increases the chances of seeing the Aurora.  It is best seen from a dark site, however, when a friend calls at midnight and says hey "go outside and take a look".  You go outside even if it is your driveway.

This is what a typical Aurora looks like minus the colors.  It has to be a dark site with a bright Aurora to see colors.  However, camera's are much more forgiving.  This Aurora is the best since the late 1980's when an Aurora covered more than half the sky in Wenatchee.  At first I thought it was clouds in that case.  Unfortunately, this was before digital camera's.

I just got a new Canon 6D camera.  These were the first pictures taken with the camera so please excuse the quality.  I used a tripod and Canon EOS remote software to take the pictures from my IPAD.  I am looking forward to using the camera for more astrophotography in the future.

Green....your eyes are most sensitive to green light.  So the first color you are likely to perceive in dark situations is green.  The view above is the typical Aurora Borealis view.  Green and bands heading up.

As you moved west the green glow faded a bit, however, it faded much more quickly to the east.  That is Cygnus rising in the east and you can see the faint glow of the Milky Way.

When I first came outside there was one ray that went from the northwest to the southeast crossing the sky at the zenith.

It quickly faded, however, came back to life about a half hour later and these are the set of photographs from the second "apparition".

The steak in the middle of the ray is the midnight Horizon flight to Wenatchee.  They must have had one great viewing platform as they landed at Pangborn Field.

The yellow glow on the horizon is the light pollution from Seattle.  It is well over a hundred miles from Wenatchee as the crow flies and on the other side of the Cascade Range.  However, as you can tell there are a LOT of people in Seattle that are afraid of the dark and keep their outside lights lit at night for no good particularly reason.

Light pollution has been implicated in accelerating hormonal cancers such as breast and prostrate, limiting pollination of agricultural plants,  affecting the migration of birds and large mammal species, inviting vandalism, wasting lots of money, creating road hazards through glare, and of course, robbing people of the view of the universe.  However, many people never outgrow their fear of the dark!!

Overhead the ray danced and curved through the zenith.

As the display started winding down it became more intense along the western horizon.

As with all displays they start to fade.

However, there are always the memories and pictures.

Camera used was a Canon 6d on a tripod.  Exposures were generally around 15 seconds at f5.6 with an ISO of 6500 or so in most cases.  Since this was the first time I used the camera I concentrated on just taking pictures.

As always click on the picture to enlarge!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well done - nice pictures, Vlad!