Aurora Wrap-up And A Tingle Of Winter

The northern lights seen through thin cloud last night in Rice Lake Township north of Duluth. Details: 16mm lens at f/2.8, ISO 1600 and 20 second exposure. The Big Dipper is at upper left; the red glow at lower right is light pollution.  Photo: Bob King

Thank you clouds. I finally got some sleep last night when the haze got too thick for a clear view of the northern lights. We had a maybe 45 minutes of good viewing of a very active aurora. By tonight the effects of the powerful solar flare will be on the wane. Some lights across the northern U.S. and southern Canada are possible, but don’t expect a display like the past two nights.

The sky facing east tomorrow morning about 25-30 minutes before sunrise. Maps created with Stellarium

Up for sky gazing at dawn? You’re all broken now after a weekend of aurora-gazing, right? A very thin lunar crescent will be visible in twilight low in the northeastern sky about 25 minutes before sunrise tomorrow July 17. Above and right of the moon are Jupiter and Venus, but will you be able to spot that classic representative of winter – Betelgeuse in Orion?

Only those with the clearest skies might catch it rising in the east. In a couple weeks, the star will be higher up and much easier to see for two reasons: all the stars in the eastern sky rise 4 minutes earlier each night due to Earth’s motion around the sun. Combined with later sunrise times this month, the hours of night expand, forcing the early winter stars to practically leap into darkness as July gives way to August.

9 Responses

  1. Mary Lampe

    Just want you know how much I have enjoyed your last couple days of photos & comments. I am in central Ohio and not much hope of seeing northern lights in person. Your site is packed full of good info. Thanks so much.

    1. astrobob

      You’re very kind to write. Thank you. If there’s something you’d like to see covered sometime, just let me know.

  2. Diana Lane Lambert

    Thank you for your work, your knowledge and photographs. I have just become aware of your work and will now be a faithful follower.
    Diana Lane Lambert, photographer and author

    1. astrobob

      Only a modest chance – the storm of the past two days is dying down. We might see some glow in the north in the northern states. If there is a surge, I’ll post an update. We have clear skies in Duluth.

  3. larsa

    Hi there! Sad the storm is dying, wished the south states could enjoy too. I will get to see the cresent moon, thestars, and planets tho 100%! Thanks for all your posts bob, this is my favorite star site and your lucky you live in my favorite state!!! I used to live in Detriot Lakes :p

    1. astrobob

      Ah, Detroit Lakes. Very pretty area. I’ve been keeping an eye on the Kp, etc. tonight and there’s a possibility for auroras. I should know in a short while as Duluth’s sky darkens.

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