Today – February 7. – is the official Sun Day in Narvik. That is the day, the sun is no longer obscured by the mountains and it shines down on the town square. The dark season of 2013 is over officially, although a lot of valleys and villages in the municipality has to wait for days, even weeks for the sun to get high enough in the sky to shine down on them. Time flies – and soon the midnight sun will shine in through windows from the oposite side of the Ofoten Fjord.
The official sun day is celebrated with taking half the day off and of course eating sun buns.
I really enjoy looking through older photos, and thought this would actually deserve a posting. It’s taken one the magic night 23. January 1216 pm. The northern light was absolutely stunning that evening…
The days are rapidly getting shorter. Geographically the sun should disappear on November 22. But because of the mountains, the sun disappears a few days earlier. Geographically the sun reappears the February 6., but again because of the mountains the actual observation of the sun is a few days later.
In between these dates it is dark here. Around Christmas it is just a faint dusky light around noon, the rest of the 22 hours of the day it is dark. Pitch dark – as in the middle of the night. It is the dark season. But this time of year makes it even more cozy with lights, especially candle lights. AND it is the season of Northern Lights! During summer, the midnight sun lights up the sky day and night, thus drowning the faint light from the Northern Light. In the winter-time it is the other way around!
Even now the sun is setting early. This photo of reflections in the snow-covered mountains from sunset was taken 15:58 today.
This old and slow computer really needs changing now. Moore’s Law is very much in effect here. But I enjoy very much sharing my photos with you – and by the looks of it – you enjoy it to! Lesley Carter is one of my most avid readers. Her blog Bucket List Publication – lesleycarter.com is really nice – especially if you’re a viking roaming the seven seas (and the lands in between). So please check it out! And she is – according to her profile page – pregnant as well: so congrats and best wishes all around, Lesley!
This photo was taken from Ankens with view of the Ofoten Fjord and the mountain range Veggen (loosly translates to “The Wall”) in the background on October the 12. Enjoy!
The lighthouse on Ankenes and Northern Lights up above behind some fast moving clouds. Taken on October the 13.
This is taken the same evening (October 14. 2012) as the previous photo. Here the Northern Light is somewhat stronger. This view is towards the South and the previous photo is taken towards the North.
Quiet – but it’s there
It’s been very, very quiet on the Northern Lights front. The particle flow is very good. Now, I am not a physicist – but I have a fair share of knowledge in the field, having studied it and been a happy member of the Physics Club at The University of Tromsø (The Northern Lights Capital of Norway – a really fun city with lots of things to explore – I highly recommend it). In my humble opinion when the Solar Wind is at low speeds (right now ~500 km/s) – as it is right now, and the Geomagnetic Field component is neutral and the Dynamic pressure is low – even with a quite strong stream of charged particles from the Sun – all we get here is a “vail” of Northern Lights, but things changes fast. Sudden Solar Prominences can quickly change the conditions for Northern Lights.
2013 – A peak year
The solar activity in terms of Solar Prominences (also known as protuberanses) varies. These are known as Solar Cycles (or Magnetic Activity Cycles). They peak about every 11. year. 2013 is an estimated new peak. In correlations with this heightened activity, solar observatories register a rise in Sun Spots.
The photo below is taken in Ankenes the 15. – which was a pretty good day for shooting, but this faint “vail” captivated me enough to develop.
To round of a quiet night with practically no northern lights and some editing work on the aging computer – here is one of the big flashes from last night! Glad Wenche came out in time to see this! Better than fireworks – isn’t it!
In relation to the previous two posts…
I have a sensational old and slow computer. So cranking out Northern Lights photos is a slow and tedious process in sharp contrast to my camera, which is fast as lightning in comparison when it comes to process photos…
This is one more from yesterday in relation to my last post – see the Home-page.
On the third night in a row I went out scouting for the Northern Lights yesterday. I had good company in Danielle and Kent Robin. Liv-Bente had prepared the grounds (if you’d like me to, I’ll explain this in a later post). Just in time for the show, Wenche came along with an exchange student, Ayan from Thailand and an old friend – Rune – and a friend of his – Cathrine – from Narvik Fotoklubb – The local photo club came to scout the skies as well. There were quite a few tripods and camera at one point, but it is always nice to trade tips and tricks in the very skilled and difficult art of taking good northern lights shots.
So what about the title on this post? – you might ask… Well, when there is nobody else out there chatting along, I can actually hear music when I see the northern lights flickering and meandering across the night sky. My good friend – the brilliant singer and thereminist – Amethyste plays along with the light in my mind. She has an angelical voice. I suppose it is simply and purely a question of associations between beautiful things in my life.
I am crancking out Northern Lights Photos as fast as I can manage with this old computer. Here’s another one from last night
I am crazy busy today – but I just popped by my blog to show my readers an example of last night activity. The Kp-index was steadily around five, which at these latitudes is high (northern lights activity normally starts at Kp 2/3. Tonight there is a geomagnetic storm coming with an estimated strength of G1 (the scale goes from G0 – no activity to G5 where all hell breaks loose and satellites gets their curcuitboards fried and powergrids here on Earth fails).
Unfortunately there were strong winds and quite a bit of rain and partly cloudy yesterday. But still the build up to the storm was quite obvious in between the clouds!
Standing there in the darkness – jumping up and down like a little kid at Christmas – and shouting -Yes! and Aaaah!, I probably look quite silly for a grown man, but every occasion like yesterday is exactly like Christmas to me! The Aurora borealis – Northern Light is so awe-inspiring that I wish all the japanese, Korean and Chinese tourist here in Norway could see it! They really are memories for a lifetime. Last night Kp-index was 3 (2 and above means chances to see northern lights at these latitudes). Today the Kp is even higher, at 5 – so I am soooo hoping for equally crisp, clear skies and even bigger lights!
I managed to get great many shots yesterday. And I had company. Danielle came down to the water with her boyfriend and I helped her getting into the fine techniques of shooting Northern Lights photographs.
And another bonus last night was the swarms of beautiful meteorites. I belive it must have been the orionides that should be passing just these days. Although my camera was pointed in the wrong directions, when I got home, I found that actually three of my photos had captured these beautiful sights. My head was obviously pointing in the wrong direction at these points, as I didn’t see them until I started flipping through the shots.
Well, here is a tiny fraction of last night’s phenomenal photo shoot. Enjoy!
The conditions are good! Clear skies and moderate particle stream from the sun, so my camera is set, my wool clothes are all ready. Tripod? Check! Extra battery? Check! Flash light? Check! All systems nominal. Go, no-go for northern lights! WE HAVE A GO FOR AURORA BOREALIS!
In the news today we saw that 45. million readers have seen the Facebook page for Visit Northern Norway – and yet again my friend Øystein Lunde Ingvaldsen lundeimages. com made the frontpage with one of his stunning photos, the very photo I got his permission to show here to the right! It is an absolute beauty of a northern lights shot! The photo is taken in Bø in Vesterålen (Boe in Vesteraalen) – the beautiful group of islands between Lofoten and the main land.
I was hoping for clear, crisp weather and maybe a combined northern lights shots and a meteor from the Draconids – wich is the hot topic in tonight’s sky. I saw three really nice shooting stars, but ales, didn’t capture them. I would probably have caught some more, if it wasn’t for the clouds. I caught a few nice though! It was really the AHHHH!-moment of my Northern Lights watching career – but it was nice anyway.
At one point I managed to do a long exposure of Widerøe’s Flight WF855 (Dash 8-100) from Narvik taking off from Narvik Airport at 1010 pm (GMT+1). Funny how the landing lights and strobes made a nice pattern across the beautiful moonlit scene.
One of the great joys of photography, is to flip through old shots and rediscovering details you didn’t see the first time. This shot was taken on the January 23. 2012. Tonight there is a clear and rather crisp sky (although I had been hoping for a little less humidity in the atmosphere) – so – who knows – maybe it is going to be one of those spectacular nights again..?
Incidentally exactly one year ago I was also shooting Aurora Borealis – Northern Lights photos. I recall the conditions were somewhat better than today, but still, I am not complaining. I shot a few, but this was – if not the best – the most interesting because of the perspective. The aurora is partly obscured by a cloud.
Aurora borealis is formed some 80 – 3-400 km above Earth Surface by charged particles from the sun that excites atoms in the ionosphere. When the electrons in the excited atoms falls back again to lower states of energy, they release the energy, from the collision with the particle from the sun, in the form of a photon which is the light waves/particles that we observe as light on our retina.
I reported on clear skies and a hope for northern light yesterday. And my dreams came through! Here is the first of the photos. It was a “flash” at the beginning of the show, and the reason why I picked this, is simply because of the really cool reflections in the fjord. This was taken at 20 seconds exposure, which makes it kind of blurry, but still it came out nice with a little adjustments for white balance.
The night is getting lighter and soon the Midnight Sun will be shining – thus making it impossible to see the spectacular phenomenon – Northern Lights (Aurora borealis). But still the night is dark enough to se the occasional Northern Lights. Although I am too busy at the moment to spend hours out in the cold gazing for this beautiful light show – yesterday I just had to.
I only shoot photos in RAW-mode. Hence it takes a lot of hard, manual labor to “develop” them into JPEGs suitable for showing here. And there it is again time… Well, I’ve processed one with the planet Venus shining brightly through the vail of the Northern Lights above the Ofoten Fjord.
Today my blog has reached a new time high! My last entry about with the Northern Lights photos has shot through the roof! Right now we are experiencing the biggest Sun Storm since 2005. This is really bad news for communication and navigation satelites. It is not very healthy being an airline passenger or crew neither. But for watching spectacular lights in the night sky, it is great. Right now there’s a lull in the activity, but as the Earth rotates a little bit more, we in Northern-Norway will be right on the backstream of the charched particles from the Sun.
I have already shot a few photos tonight and are waiting for more. Unfortunately there is a lot of clouds right now. And since it’s rather cold, people are throwing birch into the fireplaces – like ther was no tomorrow – which produces a lot of smoke particles which scatter the light even more.
I hope you enjoy these preliminary shots of tonights show!
Yesterday was a fantastic night! All one could hope and dream for! Often times the Earth’s magnetic field pushes so hard back against the Sun’s magnestic field, that the particle from solar bursts never enter the ionosphere to create this spectacle. But yesterday was – luckily – a day when the magnetic field lines let slip particles deep down into the ionosphere to create these breathtaking views. With the good help of my friend Øystein Lunde Ingvaldsen, I managed to process the final details of my RAW photos to stand out like they are seen.