Saturday, March 10, 2018

March 9th Aurora

I live near a city that generally precludes my ability to see things like the aurora because of light pollution.  On Friday night I took advantage of not having to be up for work in the morning and took a drive up Highway 4 past Island Lake so that I could be someplace without all of the light pollution and actually get to see the aurora.  Turns out there are a lot more stars there too.

 That red blur in the distance?  That is taillights from a passing car.  Very soon it went out around a corner and disappeared.
 Since it was dark and still I was able to jack the exposure time up to 15 seconds.  As a result even though it was very dark as the moon was not up yet, you can see the white of the snow in the ditches.  The aurora was visible but dim on the horizon at this point.
 I look up to the west and saw Orion staring at me so I aimed the camera in that general direction and took a shot.  Using a 10mm lens you really don't have to aim much past "in that general direction" any way.
 Anotherquick shot with all the stars.
 Airplane flying over head, it is surprising how much of a trail they leave as they cruise silently along up in the sky.
I drove a few miles down the road and thought about pulling off, thankfully thought better of it because it was not plowed.  The sign is lit up in the taillights of the truck as I was near a curve and wanted to announce my presence.

One last shot with the road lit up in the taillights.  One interesting observation that I did not think of until this morning is that with all of the cars driving north, I never saw a car driving south the entire time I was out there.

I am thinking about what kind of a rig I could use for driving about and doing photography.  This summer the rig is going to be a 32 foot sailboat, but once the boat goes up on the cradle in the fall I am going to have to figure something out that is a more comfortable cruise than the truck.

Don't get me wrong, the truck is awesome as a daily driver and a go out and haul heavy things vehicle, but it is small and the heat is not overwhelming.  It gets heat, eventually, is the best you can say about it.  Also it does lack room that would be handy for hauling about photography equipment, for instance hauling a tripod fills it, and I would never be able to haul my telescope.

I will think about this more in the fall.  I have plenty of time to find the perfect vehicle, thinking a small import SUV.

In other thoughts when I was driving a long I noticed, and sadly did not take a picture of it to show as an example that the light pollution from Duluth was brighter than the aurora until I got about 30 miles out of town.  Even from Island Lake, which is a good distance out of Duluth, it was far brighter looking south than it was looking north.  We really need to do something about the number of lights we have needlessly aiming straight up in the air making it impossible for anyone to see anything in the sky.