Auroras on the Summit

2012-06-22 19:35:16.000 – Christopher Gregg,  Summit Intern

Auroras to the North of the summit

Getting to spend my summer up on Mount Washington, there are a number of things I had expected (or rather hoped) to see over my internship. Snow in parts of the year that you normally don’t expect, high winds, storms going right over the summit, extremely thick fog, rime ice, and spectacular scenery.

Beyond that, I recently had the privilege of seeing something that didn’t cross my mind up till part way into my experience on the summit, the Aurora Borealis. It’s something most people put on their ‘bucket list’ as something to see, and always seems to be portrayed in a majestic sense, whether through text, photo, or video. At times the Auroras can be quite bright, even capable of occasionally casting shadows (from what I’ve read); however, on the night of June 11th, the Auroras were spectacularly unspectacular to the naked eye. I honestly probably would not have noticed them if Ryan had not told us they were there. As somebody who enjoys both photography and astronomy, I was still thrilled, but a more exhilarating experience is still desired.

After standing outside for about five minutes, my eyes had finally adjusted a bit to the darkness allowing me to make out just the faintest column of light in the sky, like an illuminated haze almost. Thinking back, it was almost comical how some of us had excitedly shouted out ‘I think I see green!’ or ‘Is that blue over there’?! Despite the dimness of these auroras, with a camera that had long exposure capabilities, the lights were still quite photogenic. Since being advised on how to take better quality photos of such an event, I can’t help but hope for another opportunity this summer.


Christopher Gregg,  Summit Intern

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