Night Sky Dancing

Monday 1am, November 8, 2004

A couple of hours ago now I thought that I might stop by and write a quick entry, but before I did I scanned a couple of journals that I read.

Boy was I glad that I did.

One of them mentioned as a headline "Urgent Message from the Sky . . ." and it detailed that the aurora were to be seen some 250 miles south of me in the area of Washington DC. The blog also had a link to a spaceweather (the site may be slow to respond) site that predicted an intense magnetic storm that might be able to be seen by almost 25% of the globe.

I quickly ran outside on my back deck and realized that barefoot in the freezing night air was not going to be the way to go. I grabbed a winter jacket and wandered off into a dark area of the deck.

And there they were, shimmering and pulsating, the entire sky seemed filled with the green light.

I was excited and grabbed an extra winter jacket as I headed into the bedroom to wake up the MRS. She looked puzzled at me as I stood over her in my parka. I told her she needed to get up and come with me to see the "Northern Lights."

Although she only stayed a minute, she told me that she was glad that I woke her and then headed back into the house to her warm bed.

I however, was on a mission, and I didn't really care if the temperature hovered just above freezing.

The lights danced in the night sky, shimmering and pulsating as only the aurora can do. You could watch the energy undulate through the heavens.

It was magnificent.

I've only seen the "Northern Lights" maybe 4 or 5 times in my lifetime, perhaps because Michigan is after all, the 3rd cloudiest state in the United States.

But every time I've seen them, it's been magical.

And I've never gotten a photo of them before, although I've seen a few in various art galleries in the northern part of the state.

The lights pulse and shimmer and fade from dim to bright and back and I've got to tell you, that this night was also the first time I've ever seen the lights glow red.

Now those red lights in the image above were from a low flying jet that moved through the frame during the 8 seconds that the lens was open. Just as I pressed the shutter I heard it and wondered if it would wander through my frame.

Early on I moved from the back yard to the front and then right out into the middle of the street, trying to get the best images and keep the glow of the house lights out of the pictures.

I was uninterrupted during the hour and 5 minutes or so that I was out in the street.

Thank goodness for that, for I never really did give much thought to my apperance, winter jacket, tennis shoes, flannel PJ's and a breath right strip.

My wife says that I am too a geek, I say it's uh... imersion in the moment.

Yeah, that's it.

This last image kind of lets you see just what's going on right straight overhead, for all of the light seemed to converge on a kind of hole in the universe.

And the good news is that the storm is supposed to last for another couple of days. If you can, get out and try and see the dance in the night sky.

EDIT - Late breaking news:

Space Weather News for Nov. 7, 2004

Big sunspot 696 unleashed an X-class solar flare on Sunday, Nov. 7th, and probably hurled another coronal mass ejection (CME) toward Earth. Solar wind conditions are favorable for a geomagnetic storm now (late Nov. 7th) and may become even more so when the CME arrives.

Sky watchers: be alert for auroras on Nov. 7th, 8th and 9th. The best time to look is usually around local midnight.