2006-12-15 07:55:04.000 – Jim Salge,  Observer

Northern lights over the summit…

High clouds gradually overspread the skies yesterday and though summits remained free of fog, hopes were low that we would be able to see any of the aurora that was predicted to be active. However, during the first ob after dinner last night, Jon and I were out on the deck looking at a largely clear sky and a faint glow on the horizon. Not knowing how long the clearing would last we suited up and grabbed the cameras to see what we could image. It was 6:30 then. The clouds didn’t roll in until around 10PM, and the aurora put on a mild show the entire time.

Volunteer Brian and I went to bed shortly after the clouds filled in with half serious instructions to Jon to wake us up if skies cleared and the aurora got intense. Deep sleep had barely found me before I was outside again, watching a fast moving aurora sending pulsing waves up to the zenith from the northern horizon. Whereas the earlier viewing had been restricted to green and white in a low arc backlighting a mass of clouds, the 1am showing was a brilliant light show. The arc had grown across the horizon showing off marked banding with streaks rising skyward. Reds joined the green. Rapidly pulsing waves danced to a solar groove. The Geminid meteor shower provided a frequent show of shooting stars and an occasional few bright fireballs. These flaring only when camera shutters were closed of course.

Though a storm is moving in today and tonight on the summits, skies should clear out again this weekend, just in time for another piece of solar energy to arrive upon our planet. For information on the chances for more northern lights this weekend, click here!

Here’s a few more pics from last night…

Aurora One
Aurora Two
Aurora Three
Aurora Four


Jim Salge,  Observer

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