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Beautiful sub-auroral arcs across the sky: what we know so far about the phenomenon

October 14, 2017

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Renewal: the Danish spring

May 14, 2016

It is hard to think that two weeks from now, snow was falling. It is even harder to realize that the long nights have just been replaced with the light nights. For me, it signals the end of a season, the astrophotography season, because the perpetual nautical twilight at night prevents any darkness and thus, deep-sky object or milky way shot. The season is also over for the Northern lights! As a consequence, even though the summer solstice is not before June 20th, I feel like we are entering the summer season. 

 

 

Besides we have had a streak of excpetionally warm days for the past one and a half weeks, with sunshine and a mean temperature of 23 degrees Celcius, which was pretty unusual for the season. It meant clear night skies and beautiful scenes, and also hard work, because I needed to be ready to get as many good shots as possible in a very short amount of time. 

 

 
In the middle of the warm day streak, a solar geomagnetic storm occurred and I was obviously outside shooting it! G3 on Mother's day! Wow what a display. Lady Aurora never ceases to amaze me. They had announced a storm on social media, but you never know when it is going to hit. I was standing outside on a little hill of Ordrup Næs in the Northwest of Denmark, my camera oriented towards the North, ready to shoot. I had been outside from 10:00 pm, even though the twilight deterred me from discerning anything. It is midnight. It is crazy to think that the twilight was still there! 'Go away' I thought nervously. I take a test shot, and it is definitely still too bright at ISO 1600, but I see the pillars! It's happening. For once the lights were actually more visible with the naked eye than on camera! I am discussing with 'CeeTee' on Twitter, as she really wanted to see the Northern lights herself. She was standing outside but could not see anything. It is hard to explain over the phone! She decided to go to bed at 00:20 out of disappointment, and on top of that the storm had subsided. I look at the ovation and I see the predicted Kp go down! I'm started to get disappointed too. But wait, the magnetometer was still going crazy. I decided to stay for a bit anyway. Literally five minutes afterwards, a beautiful and powerful green arc is visible towards the North-Northwest. It is the best precursor sign of the aurora! And the show had finally kicked off. It came as an explosion. And better yet, the show has gone on strongly for several hours! I stayed up until 3:00 am when the twilight appeared again. What a night it was! On my way home, I thought: 'If only CeeTee had stayed up to see the show! I ought to show her the pictures tomorrow', which I did. It proves that even with a bit of experience in the aurora chase, you always get surprised. 

 

 

This example is one of many in the days of the Danish spring. It is full of beautiful surprises, and I have tried to pack them together in a new video that I have been working on since the end of the winter. It features beautiful spring flowers, milky way, orange moon rise, the Andromeda galaxy, the Aurora Borealis, forest and beach ambiances...etc

 

 
My only regret is not to have been able to shoot forest flower bed in the moonlight. I will try to do that in the next days as the moon is ascending. In the meantime you can now watch the video below. It is naturally shot in sharp 4K quality with my Sony and Canon cameras. I really hope you enjoy the display and the sounds of this renewal of life on Earth!