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The Daily Bucket is a regular feature of the Backyard Science group.  It is a place to note any observations you have made of the world around you.  Rain, sun, wind...insects, birds, flowers...meteorites, rocks...seasonal changes...all are worthy additions to the bucket.  Please let us know what is going on around you in a comment.  Include, as close as is comfortable for you, where you are located. Each note is a record that we can refer to in the future as we try to understand the patterns that are quietly unwinding around us.
At first, you’re
not sure, reflected light?  Fog, Moonrise?  but then movement and you see it forming
developing aurora

The subtle reds and violets above were actually brighter than the photo above shows. Film was more sensitive to low reds than the human eye. The sensor in a digital seems to be more on parity with eyeball, but I could not reproduce the violets and reds that were visible in the scene, but not in the photos, sorry.

obscured aurora
Things are definitely happening, but will the clouds win the race? This could be the best show of the night

These pictures were taken mostly hand held with a Nikon 3100, 1 sec. exposure, cheap grey market 50mm, F1.8, lens

The Northern Lights are actually the result of collisions between gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere with charged particles released from the sun's atmosphere. Variations in colour are due to the type of gas particles that are colliding. The most common auroral color, a pale yellowish-green, is produced by oxygen molecules located about 60 miles above the earth. Rare, all-red auroras are produced by high-altitude oxygen, at heights of up to 200 miles. Nitrogen produces blue or purplish-red aurora. - Northern Lights Centre Watson Lake, Yukon Territory

I think it’s geting brighter

curtain aurora
This might turn out all right after all, or is it fading already?

green auroraBut then green fire curtains start to dance, and colors glide

And a fire giant claims a soul for Valhalla

developed aurora
<

The lobes of this magnetic spider are the so called field lines that guide the charged particles into the upper atmosphere. They are pushed around by the solar wind causing them to undulate with the changing forces so that the curtains of light may dance for us. A plasma body from a coronal mass ejection carries it’s own magnetic organization, interaction of the two magnetic systems would cause spectacular aurora. With a CME like the one that struck earth in 1859, known as the Carrington event,  seeing would probably improve also, as the induced currents could very well take out power grids worldwide.  Telegraph operators were electrocuted at their stations in at least two instances, and telegraph poles spontaneously ignited. (I lost the citations for the previous) so call it a good story, a less lurid account is here:  http://news.nationalgeographic.com/...

diagram of earths magnetic field
More about aurora all over this site:
http://www.gi.alaska.edu/...

As I write this, there is a forecast for possible active aurora. This is taking longer than it might have. I keep getting up to look.

So, what's happening in your sky tonight? Got wild colors?

...


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