Last Nights Aurora

2012-07-15 17:32:14.000 – Emanuel Janisch,  Summit Intern

Aurora

The Aurora Borials was something that I had learned about, seen pictures of, and heard stories of, but I had never seen them first hand. Seeing them for the first time earlier this summer was quite something, however seeing them for a second time last night was even better.

Studying meteorology, I have always has an interest in what’s going on with the weather above and around me. I have also had an interest in what’s going on outside Earth’s atmosphere. When I heard about a solar storm that would potentially produce some auroras I got pretty excited. I had the night Observer wake me up in the middle of the night so that I could experience them for the first time. Being this far south the colors didn’t really show up to the naked eye, all you could really see was a glowing hew above the horizon with the occasional pillars before fading away. With a good camera and knowing how to use it I knew I could bring out a whole new side to the show. The following night I was ready for a better show, but the night Observer forgot to wake us up, so we missed it. Not to complain though, a good night’s sleep is a nice thing too

Consequently after my failure capturing pictures of the lights the first two times I chose to use my resources and gain some knowledge about night photography. With this new found knowledge it was now a waiting game until they would be back. I didn’t have to wait very long until I got wind that there was a good solar flare that would be producing a good show. This time I was ready. The middle of the night would become my waking hour, but I would be ready this time. I now knew how to set the settings I needed, my tripod was accessible, and out on the dresser easy to grab. Finally I made sure I would be woken up when the show began.

Looking back to last night’s show, it was great! Although you couldn’t see much color with the naked eye it was quite a different outcome from my camera. My success with night photos doubled my excitement. The next two hours I spent out on the observatory deck watching the sky and taking pictures. I was only able to leave the shutter open for 15 seconds, but regardless I was able to catch quite an impressive show.

 

Emanuel Janisch,  Summit Intern

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