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.
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..?