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.


Novice Naturalist said...

Very pretty. And I agree, eerie. So the river is already frozen over. First year off the slope for me in a very long time. Scenes like this make me incredibly homesick. Enjoy all this. I know you do.

Jackie said...

Very cool...never seen anything like that. Almost make you want to walk out there and stand in the middle of that spotlight from heaven.

Kimberlee said...

Yes, people are already ice fishing. I can imagine that you do miss it. I certainly would!

I would have liked to have snow machined out there and see just how much ground was illuminated. :)

lesle said...

Earth's position relative to [eight] seasonal cusps:

Anonymous said...

That is so weird and I have some questions.
- Have you ever received an explanation of what that spot of light was?
- Was there something out of camera-shot creating that light that we cannot see?
- Was it moving or stationary?
- Has it ever reappeared?
- If you had to guess, where was that light coming from?

Greg in Edmonton, Canada.

Kimberlee said...


The only explanation that has been offered is Lesle's, just above your comment. The light was definitely coming from the moon, no movement, nothing out of camera range. It's been a while since I posted these photos, but I don't think I've ever seen this phenomenon again. Try checking out Lesle's link (above). And thanks for commenting!