Does anyone have really nice aurora where they're from. I was outside

  • Thread starter KrisOhn
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  • #1
KrisOhn
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Does anyone have really nice aurora where they're from. I was outside of the city at an observatory last night, doing some observing, and while they're not great for maintaining your dark sky adaptation, they sure do make some great photos.

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01-04-11Sleaford053-1.jpg


The craziest part of the aurora was after these pictures were taken though:
After the aurora settled down I put my camera away because it was collecting dew, which was freezing onto it (it was quite a wet night). After a couple hours of observing, someone shouted to look at the aurora. I looked and it was crazy, brighter and more active than I had ever seen it before, I thought about grabbing my camera but decided not to; I just watched and enjoyed. After that settled down I went back into the warmup shelter to look at some star charts. When I came back outside, I looked up, and there was this huge green band across the sky, right across the zenith from horizon to horizon, it was the aurora. First time I had seen anything like that in my life, I went back inside to grab my camera, but the frost on it had melted to water so I decided it would be best to leave it off. Amazing sight though.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
1MileCrash
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Breathtaking, could only imagine that in person, I'm from deep south louisiana, lol.
 
  • #3
lisab
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
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That's really spectacular!

I used to live in Fairbanks Alaska. I saw the aurora a lot, but I didn't own a camera then. And those who did always struggled with just what you described - most cameras aren't meant to be used out in Arctic cold.

Really great pix, thanks for posting them!
 
  • #4
ideasrule
Homework Helper
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Wow, those are amazing photos! Is that a meteor in photo 5? I lived in Toronto, which experienced a few auroras at times of high solar activity. Unfortunately, I've never seen one.

I used to live in Fairbanks Alaska. I saw the aurora a lot, but I didn't own a camera then. And those who did always struggled with just what you described - most cameras aren't meant to be used out in Arctic cold.

Amateur astronomers have the same problem with their telescopes. Apparently one of the best solutions is to use a dew cap to shield the optics from the sky.
 
  • #5
KrisOhn
258
2


Thanks everyone! :D

Is that a meteor in photo 5?

Yea, it was really bright to the naked eye, but it happened near the beginning of my exposure so it is washed out by the aurora a bit. That was one of a few meteors I saw that night, but the only one I got on camera.

Amateur astronomers have the same problem with their telescopes. Apparently one of the best solutions is to use a dew cap to shield the optics from the sky.

Here is a pic of my telescope from last weekend, after a couple hours of observing.
coldscope.jpg


Since my telescope is of Newtonian design and my mirror is so deep inside my telescope, I don't need a dew cap, the barrel essentially acts as its own dew cap. But dew does become a problem with my eyepieces and finder scope, usually the solution to that is to put their caps on them when they're not in use. It can get annoying but it's better than having to take a blow dryer to your eyepieces every 10 minutes.

You might also notice that the picture is kind of hazy, I noticed this when I was taking the pictures so I messed with my focus a bit, but each resultant picture came out similar. I finally flipped my camera over and looked at the lens, it was just covered with frost. I'm surprised I was able to get anything at all.
 
  • #6
KrisOhn
258
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While it's in my head, can I get this moved to the Photo section?
 
  • #7
Topher925
1,578
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<----very jealous.

I've never seen aurora borealis before nor do I have awesome clear skies life you have. Seeing aurora borealis and the milky way with my naked eye is in the top 10 of my bucket list.

Thanks everyone! :D

Here is a pic of my telescope from last weekend, after a couple hours of observing.
coldscope.jpg


Since my telescope is of Newtonian design and my mirror is so deep inside my telescope, I don't need a dew cap, the barrel essentially acts as its own dew cap. But dew does become a problem with my eyepieces and finder scope, usually the solution to that is to put their caps on them when they're not in use. It can get annoying but it's better than having to take a blow dryer to your eyepieces every 10 minutes.

The exact same thing happens to my Orion xx12i. The OTA gets a thin coating of ice and the LCD on the intelliscope controller turns into a blur. My spotting scope becomes mostly useless and I have to rely on my 35mm EP. I also have to deal with some reflection on bright objects with my eyepieces.

What camera were you using and did those shots have a long exposure? I can't even get that many stars in a shot with a 60 second exposure at ISO 1600 where I live.
 
  • #8
KrisOhn
258
2


<----very jealous.

I've never seen aurora borealis before nor do I have awesome clear skies life you have. Seeing aurora borealis and the milky way with my naked eye is in the top 10 of my bucket list.

The exact same thing happens to my Orion xx12i. The OTA gets a thin coating of ice and the LCD on the intelliscope controller turns into a blur. My spotting scope becomes mostly useless and I have to rely on my 35mm EP. I also have to deal with some reflection on bright objects with my eyepieces.

What camera were you using and did those shots have a long exposure? I can't even get that many stars in a shot with a 60 second exposure at ISO 1600 where I live.

You should update your bucket list from seeing the Milky Way to having your shadow cast on the ground by the Milky Way. You would have to find a Bortle 1 site for that, but it is definitely worth it.

Where I am in the winter it's too cold for the controller to work properly, I've tried to use it but the LCD takes a ridiculous time to respond, so I've just learned the sky better.

I used a Canon T2i/550D for these, and they were long exposure, between 10-30 seconds at ISO1600. These pictures were taken at a Bortle 4 site.

It was pretty crazy though, the aurora I was describing at the end of my original post, was just as bright as the aurora in the pictures. Ruined my night vision, but it's something I won't forget anytime soon.
 
  • #9
kakarotyjn
98
0


That's amazing!I can't believe it's real scenery on the Earth until I found plants and poles in the picture.First time I had seen anything like that in my life.

By the way,why it was green color?
 
  • #10
KrisOhn
258
2


By the way,why it was green color?

To quote from http://visibleearth.nasa.gov/view_rec.php?id=2235: [Broken]

"Green aurora occurs from about 100 km to 250 km altitude and is caused by the emission of 5577 Angstrom wavelength light from oxygen atoms."

Essentially, when high energy particles collide with Earth's atmosphere, they bump the electrons in the oxygen atoms up to a certain level. When the electrons fall down to ground state, they emit a green photon.

This answers the how, but I'm not entirely sure about the why.

Maybe these charged particles primarily come into contact with oxygen atoms, maybe these charged particles all have a similar energy level. I'm not sure.
 
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