2006-04-28 05:21:53.000 – Neil Lareau, Observer
Stepping out the door for the 1245EST synoptic observation and glancing north there was an unmistakable green arc across the horizon: The aurora borealis. It was much like many that I’ve seen from the summit, mostly a green haze but at times coalescing into crisper lines and columns. Letting my eyes slowly adjust, increasing detail became visible. Then, at times, the display would nearly disappear. What I find amazing is how quickly it can change but how subtle those changes feel. Nothing is abrupt, just quick. In a way it is actually like watching high clouds. High clouds are often moving very fast and morphing as they go, but at a casual glance they appear stationary. Find a reference point and look again… you’ll see the quiet changing nature of the atmosphere.
The infinitude of stars was in fact more impressive than the aurora, excepting for their somewhat more static nature (at least from a terrestrial vantage point). It was one of those nights where you felt like you could actually perceive the vastness of space. As the aurora began to fade the Milky Way appeared similar in intensity. Occasional shooting stars darted earthward, flaring then dwindling in a split second.
I was amazed to see the very first indications of twilight at 0250EST. I had to go back out and look again to make sure I wasn’t deceiving myself, but there to the northeast is the slightest shade of blue distinct from the indescribable grey between the stars above.
The weather for this weekend is going to be sensational. Go enjoy it, but before you do so take a moment to click here and contribute to The Summit Fund Campaign. There are just a few days left and we genuinely need your support. Thank you.
Neil Lareau, Observer