Monday, August 31, 2009

Bright Lights

The nights are getting dark enough again that we are able to spend time out at night watching the stars and if lucky even see a display of Aurora Borealis over head. The weather had been raining with a few snow showers mixed in earlier in the day as a strong east wind swept across the prairie. In the late evening we got a slight break in the weather and the low clouds rolled back and the stars came out. After midnight a faint glow of Aurora started to show and by 0130 hr there was active displays that lasted till 0300hr. Some of the stars came out a bit fuzzy even on a tripod the wind gusts were shaking the camera some (30 knots).

Besides the normal bands and curtain formations, there were several aurora bursts straight over head and I was able to capture a couple of them. One other aspect of viewing the northern lights early in the year (August-September) is the sun isn’t that low below the horizon so you still have some of the brilliant blue sky to go with the pale aurora colors.


The picture with the cabin in it has a touch of purple to go with the lime green of the main display.

In the center left you can see the constellation Taurus and the bright star Aldebaran. Just to the left of Taurus is one my favorites, the Pleiades cluster.


The second photo shows a nice Aurora Burst.


Photo three shows another Aurora Burst that has more purple around the edges.

This afternoon I was entertained by the female Short-tailed Weasel that has been living around the house for a couple weeks now. She was catching Tundra Voles in the tall grass and one of the voles was so big she had to drag it in backwards. When she tried going forward under the willow pile where she was hiding them, she would trip on it.


Vole is wet from all the rain and very wet grass.


She is not sure what I’m up to and trying to make up her mind to continue hunting or go hide for awhile.

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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.