Aurora Hunting

Some of you may have heard that there’s a large electromagetic storm going on above Earth’s poles tonight. This is caused by a very large Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) that exploded off of the Sun two days ago and hit the Earth straight on tonight. It’s not large enough to cause a catastrophic event (google “Carrington Event,” the results of which would be many orders of magnitude worse if it were to happen in today’s computer-driven, satellite based, electronic world) but it is expected to cause the most extensive display of aurora in more than twenty years.

As we approach midnight on the US west coast, we’re getting pictures online from aurora seen as far south as Kansas, Kentucky, and Virginia. Out here there are sitings as far south as Grass Valley, CA (just north of Sacremento) and just south of Lake Tahoe, NV.

Even with that, it’s still highly unlikely that we would see aurora here in Los Angeles, three hundred or miles south of there. With light pollution to boot. Possible! But highly unlikely.

I went out with the camera using the “light bucket” lens – wide angled, very high speed, sharp focus – to see if I might just get lucky and see something the naked eye can’t pick out.

(Click on the image to see it full sized – it’s nice! I’m giving you the big file, not compressed to save disk space!)

The glow at the bottom right is just the usual light pollution from the San Fernando Valley. Above is the Big Dipper with the two end “pointer” stars aimed at Polaris, the North Star. Some other interesting stuff possibly visible – but no sign of any red or green aurora.

I hope you got more lucky!

Leave a comment

Filed under Astronomy, Photography, Space

Please join the discussion, your comments are encouraged!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.