Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Elusive Aurora (Borealis)

About 10pm, Tuesday night, in spite of frigid temperatures, news of a stronger-than-average solar burst enticed me out of doors in search of the elusive Aurora. I say "elusive" because in the past few years I've noticed a trend toward fewer Aurora sightings and, even when spotted, the color (usually just green) has been less vibrant, even milky.

I also say "elusive" because in the ten years I've lived in this village, I've never been able to capture the Northern Lights photographically. And even these meager shots in the dark (literally) were taken without a tripod, so they're nothing to brag about from a technical standpoint.

Still, I feel like one of those Sasquatch hunters who has finally snagged a clear, indisputable photo of his quarry! I caught the Aurora in my own back yard! How terrific is that?

Was it worth kneeling in the snow? the dark?

...@ 47 below?

...while brushing frost off my eyelashes and nose?


And a fun little factoid about wearing snow pants and a heavy parka is that no one can see the pajamas underneath! :)

So if you're interested in the Aurora Borealis, here are some extremely informative sites that delve deeper into both the scientific and photographic aspects of the subject. I found graphs that illustrate and explain the dearth of aurora sightings I've noticed over the last few years. How validating! :)

Aurora Hunter

Aurora Forecast-Geophysical Institute

The Aurora Page

Hunting The Great Alaskan Aurora

And if you want to see spectacular photographs and an awesome video of Tuesday night's aurora activity in Canada and the UK...check this out! (scroll all the way to the bottom for the video)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Equinox Paradox

A funny thing (always) happens on the way to the Equinox.

Just when the sun begins to creep a few degrees toward Spring (and you think things are going to warm up), that's when the real cold sets in.

Wind from the SSE (160 degrees) at 7 MPH (6 KT)
Visibility 10 mile(s)
Sky conditions clear
Temperature -47 F (-44 C)
Windchill -70 F (-57 C)

More of the same is forecast for the week.

Winter never relents without a fight and it'll be stirring things up for months to come.

Fortunately, for me, staying warm won't be a problem. Nothing is toastier than a traditional fur-lined parka and I've got one (with a brand new cover)!

Quyanaq to Kate for the beautiful new atik├Žuk! You did an excellent job!

(By the way, the photo at the top of the page was taken with my nifty new camera that takes cool panoramic photos. Click on the pic to see a larger image).

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Moonlight? Spotlight? Or what?

A little clarification.

That's a snow fence in the foreground, the shadowed riverbank just beyond, and the frozen river is that white space between the two. Beyond that, it's all tundra, flat tundra, without trees or any other sort of obstruction, which makes that sliver of laser-bright luminescence all the more noticeable...and strange.

In all the years that I've lived in the Arctic, I've never seen anything like this. There have been plenty of clear nights in which the moon illuminated the entire snow-covered expanse creating an ocean-like reflection as far as the eye could see.

This night was different.

It's as if a spotlight was trained on one, specific, amazingly limited area.

Very pretty. But kind of eerie.

Sort of Twilight Zone-ish...without the pesky aliens.

At least, as far as I know.