Sky Lights (1)

As most folk will know, our sun is engaged in some pretty unsavoury activity at the moment, and it is expected to increase and peak at some point towards the end of the year or the beginning of next.  What with all the explosions and tsunamis and violent eruptions unleashing solar storms of plasma and disruptive and distructive cosmic radiation it is a good thing that we on earth occasionally get something pleasant out of this very unneighbourly behaviour. On those occasions it manifests itself in the form of the most spectacular light show on earth – the aurora borealis.

Where I grew up in Germany you wouldn’t get to see it at all, so it was a fascinating experience when one appeared over Scotland just over two decades ago, while we were on the way home from a visit. I remember we stopped the car and watched it. I haven’t seen one since until this year in January when conditions for it became right once again. The weather wasn’t great and the readings weren’t particularly high, but I still managed to get a glimpse of it and was able to snap – a somewhat feeble – photograph of the northern lights above the sea.

Northern Lights over Kingston on 22 Jan 2012

Cloud cover was a pain that day, continually shifting and obscuring the view, and it was freezing cold making operating a camera I am still not used to very difficult and slow. I really would love another shot at taking a photo of the northern lights, just to make my relatives envious if nothing else …   Well, no, not really. I guess I am just annoyed that the last pictures aren’t great and I simply want better ones. As it turns out there have been a few solar eruptions and geomagnetic storms and distortions of the earth’s magnetic field very recently to make almost continuous auroras over the last few days and nights possible. Unfortunately, with much thick cloud there was nothing to see, and the highest alert levels were during the day time, too, what use is that. The camera still sits ready prepped on its tripod, but I guess I might as well put the whole contraption away until the weather clears.

There was an interesting full moon slipping in and out of the clouds the other day while we were out aurora hunting, too, and some bright star constellations. I was tempted to turn the camera towards those, but I was too cold already and I wouldn’t know how to make them look good on a photo, since my lens isn’t that strong. A few dots on dark background are a bit boring to look at, even for me.

I will have another go at the moon next time it is full, though, I think it looks fascinating with all the craters and other contours on its surface. I hadn’t realised before that my camera would be able to show those.  I took a photo of the waxing moon a couple of weeks back and was encouraged by the results even with my beginners camera and cheap lens.

Waxing Moon over our house on 25 Feb 2012

It may not be good enough for the expert but it is fine for me 🙂

For my next post I had better get back to some drawing, this photographing business can get quite addictive…

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6 thoughts on “Sky Lights (1)

  1. I saw northern lights just once, from a plane, going across the US and waking up in my window seat just in time to see the show out the window. I guess most any photo is going to fall very short of the experience, but it’s always worth a try.

    • That must have been a treat, seeing the northern lights from an aeroplane, I am jealous! My photos aren’t particularly good, but I was so excited about seeing the northern lights that I couldn’t resist posting them 😉 I am hoping to get another chance over the coming months as the nights get longer, before sun activity slows down. It isn’t so easy during the summer as we don’t have many hours in the dark then.

  2. Generally I don’t read article on blogs, however I would like to say that this write-up very pressured me to try and do it! Your writing style has been surprised me. Thanks, very great article.

    • Thank you, what a surprising comment. I don’t write in the best of English, it’s all pretty much as it comes into my head, so be careful if you intend to copy that style. It may not be to everyone’s taste 😉

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