Auroras and the Milky Way galaxy over McMurdo
After figuring out some stuff with my first successful aurora excursion and the LIDAR, I had another chance to go out and try to photograph auroras. I'm not sure if I did better as a photographer or if they were just that much more spectacular. Probably, a little of both. I figured out how to use the mirror lock and set a self timer to get rid of some of the shake. Since I took these, I figured out I need to also remove my camera strap because the wind is blowing it. I also might use a heavier tripod. Someone else suggested using a bungee cord to keep the tripod stable. I'll probably give all those suggestions a try.
Technical camera nonsense aside, these auroras were great. They might be the best I've seen. It was certainly the first time I had ever seen a hint of red auroras. I thought I saw them when I was out, but wasn't sure until I saw my pictures. Our Alaskan friends regularly remind us that they aren't as good as theirs and they may be right, but these are good enough for me. Auroras apparently fall in 'rings' around certain areas. I guess Anchorage is directly under a ring while we are to the side of one. If you are under the ring, you can get really great auroras. If you aren't under the ring, you may or may not get great ones. Pictures of the rings are in the top left corner of the Geophysical Institute's page.
Auroras as they looked to the human eye.
I included the last picture in this blog for a couple reasons. First, it is a cool picture. Second, it has some red auroras. Third, you can see the steam of Mt. Erebus illuminated by the lava lake below on the right of the picture. Fourth, I like it and hope you do too.
"I like it a lot" as Shuttle Jami would say it.