Sunday, November 22, 2009

Last Sunset of 2009

Today (October 22) marked a mile stone for us, as it was the last day of the sun above the horizon in 2009.  It will be another 58 days weather permitting, before we see the sun on January 19, 2010 at 12:30 PM.  Officially it will remain up for a total of 1 hour and 8 minutes, but the cold air of winter can make it do strange things.  I have seen the sun come up and set three times  on the day before it was due back, due to mirage and inversion layers effecting the view.  When it does come back it just rolls along the horizon for several days before it gets much altitude.  This can make viewing difficult as it doesn’t take much of a cloud layer along the horizon to obscure the sun. Below are a couple shots taken two days ago of the sun low in the sky.  I was busy with a conference call today and missed the last view of the sun. 




















We still get several hours of twilight, even on the shortest day of the year in December.  Sometimes at night it is even brighter than during the day with a bright moon, and /or Northern Lights reflecting brightly off the snow.  The months ahead make for good star viewing and Aurora watching, if one doesn’t have to bad of a wind chill to put up with.  I look forward to the months ahead hoping that clear nights coincide with lots of Aurora activity.

Here are a few Aurora Borealis Pictures taken over the past week or so. Most night they were just a faint green or grayish green. 


Aurora_22Nov09_5706 copy

This display was just stating to pick up some reds.


Cloud streaks produced a neat display even though the Aurora weren’t very bright.


For about 20 minutes one night we had a really nice bright display.  Looking off to the west, instrument shelter in the foreground.


  1. Jim, your photos are amazing. I'd love to see the AB from your place...although I'm afraid I'd be to wimpy to actually make it all the way in the winter!

  2. It would be fun to share the Aurora with you here on the Colville. Perhaps some day you can make the trip, not that hard really.


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Arctic Smoke Signals by James W. Helmericks is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.