Fun With Contrails … And Auroras

Contrails, those streaks of condensed moisture that form in the wake of high-flying aircraft, can be annoying if you’re a photographer. They mark up an otherwise blue sky and can add an unwanted man-made element to pristine landscape photos. But sometimes contrails can become a subject of their own, where they add an geometric or…
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Aurora Kicks Into Gear Overnight — More Possible Tonight

Space weather forecasters expected auroras tonight, but they arrived a night early and put on a great show till dawn. I noticed a slight glow low in the northern sky around 9:30, so I packed up the telescope and drove to a dark spot. At 10 o’clock, the crescent moon was still bright in the…
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Northern Lights Alert April 19-20

I had planned on looking at a few things in the telescope tonight, but an unexpected aurora got the better of the sky and my time. It was spectacular, and I’ll have photos to share later this morning. But I just wanted to alert you that the aurora is still out there (certainly over Duluth,…
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Swedish Meatballs Are Delicious, But You Should See Their Auroras

One of the better aurora videos that captures a display in great detail in real time. It really heats up at about a minute 30 seconds in. We had a fine but brief display of the aurora this week over the northern states and Canada on Thursday night, March 15. Would that we all could…
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Getting To Know The Weird Purple Aurora Called STEVE

Last May, the work of citizen scientists helped establish the existence of a weird form of the aurora nicknamed Steve. Now almost a year later, aurora scientists know a lot more about Steve and happily have kept the name and turned it into a nerdy acronym — STEVE for “Strong Thermal Emission Velocity Enhancement.” Apparently,…
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