Saturday, September 20, 2014

My First Aurora Sighting This Year

When the sun spewed out large solar storms again last September 9 and 10, skywatchers looked forward to high auroral activities. Expectations went high too, especially among those living within the auroral zone, the northern latitudes of the globe.

For some days from Sept. 12, activities went as high as 5 kp, but I was able to watch the dancing lights on the first night only when they covered the entire sky all over our place at 11 pm to past 12 midnight. Actually, the lights were not so vibrant that time on account of the intense brightness of the waning gibbous. But then, cameras have a way of compressing the scattered colors of light (or whatever this process is called), making the pictures appear luminous. On the following nights, the auroras came earlier when the sky was still bright so that we could not see them.

As always, whenever the activity is high, such as 5 kp and above, the lights cover the whole sky over our place, making it impossible to capture the entire view. The night of September 12 had 5 kp, and as anticipated, the colorful lights danced all over the sky, shifting gradually like a beautifully choreographed waltz around a royal ballroom.

For a moment, I was hit with the urge to spread a  blanket over the grass so I could just lie down and enjoy the show. But then, the grass was so wet from the dew and it was too cold out there in our backyard, and that I would freeze if I would stay motionless. So I kept walking around with head bent upward while waiting for the long exposures to finish up.  Watching the show strained my neck, but it was worth it. I didn't mind the slight pain as long as I didn't miss this marvelous spectacle.

My images are just fragments taken from different sections of the sky. But the diverse shapes tell a whole story of how dazzling the dances of the aurora had been. (I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures. I merely used an old compact camera here.)

And once again, as always, my heart danced with the northern lights. And my whole being definitely floated in bliss!

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