Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Green, Green, Skies

A warm spell with scattered clouds here at our homestead in the Colville River gave me a chance to view and photograph the northern lights in temperatures 30-40 degrees warmer than I usually have to contend with.  Even if the lights were not that active I wasn’t going to miss a chance to be out and not freeze my nose or cheeks on a cold camera.

Being outside when the temperature was only +20F/-29C was like watching the light show just after freeze up in late September not early January.  I made my first trip out to film just after midnight, and at that time the sky was covered with  various shades of green aurora. 

Shimming lights over the homestead
They were not especially active but at times there was just a hint of red on the edges of some of the curtain type displays.  All the big sheet type of aurora remained  green and covered so much of the sky the snow took on a green cast at times.  there was also a band of clouds to the east of me and it was glowing orange-red from all the oil field lights in that direction.  After about an hour the northern lights faded and so I took a coffee break and waited to see if they might come back.


In this photo most of the aurora is a sheet but there is also some descending curtains that have a very weak mix of red along their upper edges.


Here is a photo showing lots of green with the cloud cover reflecting orange from all the lights on the horizon.


Here we have a all green auroral corona with its rayed bands spreading out in all directions.



 A lovely green swirl pattern developed as the first active episode started to fade away. 


 I went back out two hours later and the lights were more on the horizon in narrow bands, the big sheet type had disappeared. 


I filmed a couple neat formations and when I got back in the house and looked at one of my shots there was a red fox off in the distance, I’m sure wondering what I was doing.


 Here is a photo of the fox that I managed to get just as I was getting  camera gear ready to go in the house.  The fox was running about looking for scrapes that my dogs may have left laying around. A special way to end a lovely night of  aurora watching.
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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.