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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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A relentless summer

October 2, 2016

 

The warm days decided to linger over northern Europe, and there was nothing to whine about! 

 

The last week of September actually marked the shift to autumn with pouring rain and cooler temperatures. Until now, the weather has been unbelievably linient over Denmark and the rest of Southern Scandinavia. Up to twenty-seven degrees has been recorded one day here in the north-western part of Sjælland, which is pretty improbable and rare! DMI claims that September has been the driest in years on record, and it wasn't rare to have a two-week rainless streak. 
 

It gave us the opportunity to experience extra-ordinary dry nights which, in turn, allowed very sharp and warm-temperatured pictures. A paradise for astrophotographer that want to avoid blur, noise and due forming on the camera! The clear nights also enabled great sightings like the magnificent and elusive aurora spotted on Ordrup Næs on September 6th (19:20 UTC). The Kp was about 3 and NOAA obviously hadn't predicted such a display, at least not until later. As I arrived down the path that leads to the peninsula, I start walking up the hill, a bit hesitant about the place I should set up my cams. As I casually looked to my right (towards the North), I see the horizon starting to explode with light and colors. '-No way!' I exclaimed. I ran as fast as I could to the top of the slope, knowing that such an episode wouldn't last too long. On the way, I suddenly slipped into sheep fæces, lost my balanced and inevitably fell in the damp pasture. I lost so much time putting myself together and some gear had fallen out of my backpack. In spite of all this predicament, I made my way to the top and started shooting. 'Wow, what a display!' The picture above was the first shot I took on the time-lapse and the show was approximately half-way through. It was really bright and so colorful that I had to downgrade my ISO to 1600, which gave extra sharpness and less noise. 

The northern lights also made their appearance on September 25th and 26th where I was able to take some of my students and a colleague on their first ever aurora hunting! What a cool and 'hyggelig' night at the beach. I am so pleased to share this unique experience and knowledge with them! 

 

September also gave me the opportunity to witness some other cool events, such as a penumbral lunar eclipse. On the night of September 17th 2016, the penumbral harvest moon eclipse could be seen from Denmark. The moon passed on the edge of the Earth's shadow, allowing the upper left-hand part of the moon to be dimmer and give a mesmerizing 3D effect. Take a look at the stunning phenomenon shot in 4K with both time-lapse and film (30fps/4K): 

 

 

In the last days of September and the first of October, it has been raining on and off like real fall weather. They have been announcing the return of the cold, even though temperatures haven't really reached below 10 Celcius during the day, and mosquitoes are still frolicking around like crazy (they usually aren't too lively at this time of year)! This resulted in relatively warm nights for the season, and some cool light shows over the totally still sea, in spite of the so-hiped aurora storm not willing to show up. 

I am hoping for even more great night shows in October if the weather permits it of course. I want to try the panorama sticking technique with my astrophotographs, which gives apparently excellent results. I will also switch my Canon 70D for the full-frame 22 megapixels Canon EOS 6D, which is way better for low-light sensitivity and noise. I will keep you posted on my latest productions and adventures. Until then, stay tuned!