We managed to get another aurora through the clouds tonight so I thought I would make a short video of it using about 30 frames repeated to provide a 3 second stop motion video.
Sarah and I both stood out on the lawn for about 20 minutes to share this lovely event then, as the aurora melted away, I stayed out for a little longer shooting the milky way. It was really nice to share an aurora with Sarah as she is (more often than not) in bed sleeping when it begins. Tonight she had just gone to bed so I had time to tell her it was happening and see if she wanted to get up, I'm glad she did as it's always much better sharing this wonderful phenomena 'live' than recounting the event the next day.
The aurora returned with a vengeance last night fighting it's way through the low hazy cloud that refused to budge. Down in the bow river valley the mist was rising as air temperatures dipped to generate a hard frost across the landscape.
I stood outside in jogging pants, T-shirt and flip flops checking my settings and trying to capture the incredible light spires that reached toward the stars. At 1am I thought "I really should go get a coat and some boots on", but it's almost impossible to leave such a sight as the sprite like bursts dance across the horizon, they are fleeting and you just don't want to miss any. Ultimately the cold won out and I ran in and grabbed my jacket and winter boots before returning to the show. By 2am the cloud was ruining things altogether and I gave up and went to bed to put my cold feet on Sarah and laugh about it.
One of the best things about a Canadian winter is the more frequent aurora sightings due to longer and darker nights and no matter how many times it occurs I'll be out there watching again.
The aurora is predicted to be very good later this week, unfortunately so is the cloud cover. So I thought I would stay up late and shoot the aurora last night just in case it's too cloudy later in the week. As an experiment I set up one camera and 16-35mm lens for a star trail shot and used a different one and 24-70mm lens for the aurora shots. As it turns out the aurora wasn't great but it did make for an interesting addition to the star trail image. Low clouds to the left of the shot erased some of the star trails but the combined glow of more than a hundred images stacked together made the aurora 'pop' on the right to distract away from the darker area opposite. There's a long satellite trail in there too but I really couldn't be bothered searching it out and erasing it for this shot so it remains. As I was packing up the star trail camera I thought I'd make a few more aurora shots and was lucky enough to see and capture a nice shooting star on the horizon which can be seen the last image on the gallery below. If you're interested in making your own star trail images you can click here for more information on how to do it.
The aurora is always a welcome sight, when there is potential for an occurrence it's always exciting. Will it come, will there be clouds preventing a sighting, will it be weak or strong, dancing across the night sky or just a slow glow. It still has me going in and out of the house, to and from the balcony scouring the night sky for the faintest hint of anomalous light. Tonight was no exception and though we had some low cloud it was intermittent, allowing a few reasonable images, the best of which was the long 'flute' of light vertically stretched out across the night sky to the west of the city. It was a good display tonight with both vertical lights and the usual green 'clouds' to the east of the city,and that weird 'flute' to the west. The clouds returned just after 1am so I packed away the gear and went to bed happy with another aurora sighting.
I was looking for a specific shot for the 52 project tonight when a weak aurora appeared over the the hill, in no time at all it developed into a crazy wave with spikes reaching to the heavens, I only managed a few shots before it disappeared again faster than it came. I make no apology for posting 'yet another' aurora as it is simply too wonderful not to share.
Just a couple of nights ago we got a glimpse of a faint aurora on the horizon, our first for a while. Tonight it returned and for a short time we got a great display of movement and multi coloured flares, best of all it came early so we could watch it together.
Last night at midnight there was a familiar green glow of auroral activity on the horizon over Cochrane. It wasn't a full display of dancing shards of light that twist and turn across the night sky it was more of a suggestion, but I couldn't resist at least one shot. In summer it's hardly dark at midnight, so with the days shortening toward winter these 'lesser' auroras are now visible again and it feels like the return of an old friend. I will never tire of this phenomenon no matter how often or how faint it might be when I see it
Just before bed last night I got another 'red alert' message from Aurorawatch and wandered outside to take a look expecting the usual cloud or moon to wipe out a light aurora, instead I was greeted by a spectacular show. I spent 3 hours out on the balcony and around the garden shooting a wonderful display of purple and green (the purple being nitrogen gas and the green oxygen) There are no captions for the images below as they are clearly self explanatory.
While watching TV around 10:30pm a familiar green glow from the night sky caught my attention. Even with the low cloud tonight the aurora managed to find a way through and for a brief 30 minutes it danced around and through the clouds until it was overcome and became a green mist barely visible on the distant horizon. I confess the temperature left me not too concerned that it had ended as I scurried back into the warmth and a nice cuppa.
It seems that Aurora are like busses, you wait ages for one then two come along in quick succession. Tonight we got a really nice display that started around 7pm which meant Sarah and I could both stand and watch the incredible show as it strung luminous green strands across the Cochrane skyline. With a three quarter moon lighting the foreground it was a great night to photograph the show too so plenty of pics were made. Below is a small sample of this wonderful phenomenon, as usual the main shot can be clicked for a larger version and the smaller shots open to a gallery.
We arrived in Calgary, Canada on 29th December 2011 to continue our journey. This blog is intended to keep our family and friends informed whilst we explore Canada.You can use the RSS feed below to stay updated.
The Shaman, West Texas