Aurora Tonite

Kind of late notice...but sightings of the northern lights are already being reported in southern Indiana. Was visible in Wisconsin even before complete darkness. Get your cameras out there!
 
I went out and looked. Oo. Ahh. Pretty. And then a huge piece of junk fell into the atmosphere, and it was pretty cool.

Ok, its cold outside. I'm staying inside now. ;>
 
I got nothing up here in Bolingbrook. If its still on the northern horizon it will be some time before it gets overhead. I'm gonna head out into the country in an hour or two and see the show. Its only about a 20 minute drive from here before the endless cornfields begin and the city lights are muted.

The last one I saw earlier this year from Urbana was spectacular. It was a better show than most of the chases I have been on, and I would certainly like to see it again.
 
Just went out to take a look. There are a couple faint bands visible across the sky, but not especially impressive currently.
 
Saw an amazing show in eastern NE starting at sunset. Wasn't even dark and they were dancing. Will posts some pics maybe tonight. Thanks to Steve Peterson for the e-mail or I'd of never saw them.
 
Just went out an checked the the "lights", wow :shock: Really bright with nice streaks, multiple colors, and really dancing. They stayed this way for about 10 minutes, then faded away to the south...
 
Northern lights visible from Wichita this evening. Light green tinge to the sky.
 
Tonight was the best show I've ever seen. Dancing, pillars, everything! Thanks for the heads up on the lights.
 
Here in Oklahoma the aurora appeared as a diffuse bluish-green glow along the northern horizon. It's not immediately obvious to the casual observer - but if you travel to a dark area north and east of the OKC area - it should be visible. I was able to view it from McLoud, Wellston, and Carney.

Was originally going try viewing it from Lake Thunderbird - but decided not to after getting pulled over by a cop there for having a tag light out - then being asked to step out of the vehicle, getting frisked for weapons, and having my vehicle searched. Don't think I'm gonna try stargazing there again anytime soon..... :shock:
 
OMG. Went back out as it picked back up and it was really amazing how close they seemed. It was better then the best all evening, but it didn't last long and weakened back to the north. But it was so good that I decided to stick it out for as long as I could just to see if anything could happen. Around 1 a.m. till now, 2:30 a.m. I witnessed the most amazing thing I've seen in my entire life, without a doubt. It was just that faint circle of green/white but it was creeping back south slowly. It was odd it wasn't very strong in appearance at all but it was certainly moving south. Pretty soon I thought I was seeing flashes and it half tripped me out. I'd been staring at the dark sky for a good 3-4 of the last 6 hours so I thought maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me. They kept coming though and getting stronger. Pretty soon they were overhead. The sky could not of been any better for this show. It was excessively clear and just cold. It grew into this flat out amazing show of what would best be described as vapor flashing and moving at well over 1000 mph. Like if you see fog flowing over terrain in streams only they'd flashform and have extremely fast movements in them. Areas well south of the main display would just vapor up..poof, poof, poof for over an hour. It was so cool to watch. Then it let up some and faded to the north once again and remained weak. This vapor stuff overhead was never really strong, but strong enough. The still photos of them won't show the display for what it was at all. Anyway I stuck it out longer again just watching this same flashing action but more north now. Then the thing grows into this amazing very strong wall of RED. This red and green wall(horzizon to horizon) stretched well overhead and to the south in this sick fashion. The came together in this common center like a hole with some actually looking to stream from the south into it. This show only lasted about 3 minutes. I finally got the sign to go home with that one as I knew there was seriously no way to beat that. I thought the show at sunset and after was cool, but nothing stands even remotely close to the 1 a.m. to 2:30 a.m. show. Hands down beat every storm display I've seen. It's really amazing to see a show so "heavenly".

Side notes 1: When I went back out around 11:30 I got the close ones outside of town and decided to try and fly back to town and get this bridge/river with them again like earlier, only this time I was completely alone down there. I run out trying to get it before it ends again and am setting up the tripod by the boat ramp into the river. Before I'm even set up something splashes in the water a couple feet into the ramp underwater. I'd been down there a whole lot of times shooting things at night and a couple hours earlier and never ever have I seen a fish jump in the river. I was scared sh@tless cause the first thought that came to mind was some river person threw something at or over me. So there I am looking around half affraid to move, lol. No shot was worth it anymore and I tore off to back to my car, which wasn't exactly close. I don't know what the hell it was but it was big and not where I'd expect a fish jumping and only about 20 feet away from me. I was so mad though that I was missing this amazing photo op so I finally got back out of my car and walked down to the dock above this and set up. One long exposure later and my mind talked me back out of it again. I was thinking as soon as a train comes again, which is very frequent, I ain't going to be able to hear any footsteps. I said, I ain't becoming a spooky movie casualty and tore back to my car again and just gave up the river/bridge.

Side note 2: Staring at a dark sky(focusing on infinity), and then flipping back to a bright LCD screen and attempting to focus on it too many times is BAD for your eyes. Finally a few hours into this I could't look at my LCD at all. Anything closer then 20 feet and my eyes would want to cross. I could not get them to focus on the screen and have one image. It was amazingly frustrating and spooky. Slowly starting to be able to read what I'm typing here...lol.

You know you've been out too long when the lady in the grocery store check out line tells you to have a nice morning. Will get some pics up soon.
 
Went out a couple times last night to view the Aurora Borealis.
Light pollution from Grand Rapids, made me drive about 30
miles south of GRR to view the auroras. Very impressive
display, not much greens or red with the displays, mostly
white. At times there was a whole band across the sky,
and the auroras were about 45 degrees above the horizon
to directly overhead, it was chilly about 40 degrees with
a wind chill of 33.

Went out later and headed some 25 miles southeast of
Grand Rapids, again the auroras were mostly white, but
had more green to them, and from time to time some faint
red colors to them. Displays were above the horizon and
eventually move overhead, neat to watch the flickering
and dancing of the auroras. It was a bit chilly, temperatues
in the low to mid 30's.

Did not bother to photograph, any of the auroras, usually
they do not turn out too good and plus I am not really into
photography at all, okay I like to take pictures of cows, LOL
If anybody have some techniques in taking pictures of auroras
at night with a digital camera. Let us know.

Mike
 
Clearly visible under the city lights here in Kitchener. Bluish/green and looked real kewl. A rare treat to see under the urban lights...

Be well, TR
 
Long exposures will show these brighter then they actually were in pretty much every case. It's still what the camera is seeing, but over a longer period of time. The ones on that page at this time were very very strong. I don't imagine they get much stronger then they were when I took those..ssoooooo... Early in the night a 50 second exposure would yeild a decent image. At that time frame they were only taking 25-30 seconds. I watched the show allll night, and hear this was one of the best shows ever. So they were pretty much as bright as you get. The camera could not pick up the faint flashes quick enough though, which were the coolest things to watch.
 
I can't believe I missed this. D'oh!

Since I have a clear view to the north here at home, I'll be out watching tonight. The only drag is that, since I'm in Bellevue, the whole of Omaha is to my north. The light pollution isn't all that bad (nothing like back home in DFW, that's for sure), but whether it's enough to drown out an aurora display, I don't know. Here's what I usually see...might be cool to get a bright aurora display over that.
 
Nice pics Mike. I'm still shooting slides.... and am again reminded why I need to switch to digital, because I was all out of fast film. Anyhow, did get to go out and enjoy the show anyhow. Hopefully this fal will have some more nice displays. I noted Mike that you are going with some very long exposures - is the digital grain/noise unacceptable at higher ISO ratings? I find the structure changes to fast to get crisp images with exposures > ~ 10 sec unless using a wide angle lens.

Glen
 
Just got a bulletin from Univ of Alaska - those who missed the weekend's display might want to skywatch tonight for another chance at the possibility.

<sigh> have fun...
-Susan, at the 34th parallel :(
 
Thanks Glen. Yeah I don't care for the noise at anything over digital ISO 200 with the cam. ISO 100 really wasn't getting the job done. 400 would of been better, but I'll sacrafice some longer exposure 'blur' for less noise. I think most would consider the ISO 400 noise acceptable but far from desireable. ISO 800 is not acceptable...1600 a joke. ISO 200 even has a good increase of noise from ISO 100 which is extremely low with this cam even at 1 minute plus exposures. All of mine posted were ISO 200 and the lens is fairly wide at 18mm(30mm or so slr equivalent). It really sucks you can't hardly zoom at all at night and still stand a chance at being in focus...least with my lens. If I put it wide open and spin the focus all the way left I at least know the shot will be in focus. I got the rest of the pics up I'll be putting up for this. The last 8 were the shorter exposures at 20-30 seconds.

http://www.extremeinstability.com/04-11-8.htm
 
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