Here are some "auroral anecdotes" ( :) :) ) that compliment my Fifth Aurora Picture Gallery.  :) :) Here you will find a play-by-play of each night that I was actually able to take some pics of the aurora.  The aurora RULES!! :) :)

      9/14/09 Monday PM to 9/15/09 Tuesday AM I was very early in the "season" (For some months of the year, it is too bright ALL the time---to see the aurora.  It is the part of living in the arctic that *MOST* *SUCKS*.  (!!!!)) I didn't expect to see anything---but there we were: aurora.  :) :)

      It was weird---taking pictures [of the aurora], in warm air, with the leaves still on the trees.  -[There was] Even a light breeze. . . .

      The light from the south (~Fairbanks) was casting moving shadows, through the blowing leaves. . . .  (It was a really cool effect.  :) :) ) I had some fun---taking exposures of this.   In one, you can see me (Well, my shadow, anyway. :) :) ), with arms raised. . . .

      :) :)

      11/26/09 Thursday AM It's been an AWFUL season for viewing aurora---SO long between sightings. . . .

      To tell the truth, I waited so long before writing this . . . that I honestly don't know/rem WHAT this one was all about.  :p ;) I went outside at my place.  I saw some aurora; I took pictures of it.

      :) ;)

      2/16/10 Tuesday AM I thought there might be some aurora---so I drove down the highway towards Anchorage, to the Parks Monument.  Shortly after I got there, an *AMAZING* display ensued.  It was *EXTRAORDNARY*---bright flashes of red rays among the green. . . .  It was . . . Wow.

      :) :)

      Oddly enough, I didn't even try to photograph it---the aurora was moving WAY too fast, it was too bright. . . .  "The Judge" may've been able to capture that action---but I hadn't brough it (?him?) ( :) :) ) along.

      I was low on [camera] memory.  Thus, I was only able to take a few pics.  -Although really cool, they don't begin to capture the wonder of this display.  (!!) :( :(

      Oh! I can't believe I forgot to mention this.  In one pic, y'all can actually see the aurora---reflected off of the fog bank, over Fairbanks.


      4/3/10 Saturday AM Again, I was at the Parks Monument.  I had been sitting there for some time (~an hour)---when I decided that there wasn't going to be a show.

      But then, on the drive back to the apartment, past the old stamping mill--the one on St. Patrick's Road--it started to "break up."

      A pretty awesome display developed.  Unfortunately, it had quited down a bit---by the time I was able to make it to "my photographing spot" ( :) :) ), on Gold Hill Road.

      One of these shots--though while not visually impressive--is scientifically fascinating.  -It shows a (resonantly) "sun-scattered" tall ray---there is a resonant absorption, and susequent re-emission, going on, from sunlight over the pole ("polar twilight").  This only happens in the arctic.  This was the first picture of this type that I was ever able to capture.  :) :)

      4/5/10 PM Monday Aurora in a Blue Sky!! I was looking at the ACE [a satellite---at "Lagrange 1"] data, etc.---and was (quite) surprised to see Kp-7 (a measure of aurora activity---the SECOND HIGHEST).  (!!)

      I thought all the action was over---but then, out to buy some pizza (I had been eating "rabbit food"--in an attempt to lose weight---and needed some REAL FOOD (!!) :) ;) ) . . . and saw Aurora in a Blue Sky. . . .

      Dudes and dudettes, this is VERY rare.  I have only seen this, like, four times in just under a decade's enforced stay in Fairbanks.

      Even saying so myself, the pictures I was able to take are . . . EXTRAORDINARY---among my very finest.  :) :) In fact, they have been submitted to Astronomy Picture of the Day. . . .

      I remember very clearly, at one point, looking out the window---and seeing my camera on its tripod.  Not only was there enough light to see this by (Normally--[the aurora] being a "total dark phenomenon"--I have to keep even the lights on the dash covered---to keep my eyes fully dark adjusted.  :p (!))---but I couldn't help but be struck by . . . just how far I had come.  (. . .)

      Back when I was working IT ("Information Technologies") in Upstate new york, I used to fantasize about auroral photography.  Now, I had traveled all the way to Interior Alaska, had a tripod "donated" (The guy was moving to Austin---not much aurora, there, from what I understand. . . .)  ( :) ;) ), had spent a . . . nontrivial proportion of a grad students' yearly salary on a positively kickin' camera (Thanks, Poul! :) :) ), and had spent five years "learning the ropes" [of auroral photography].  Hmm. Wow.

      A little bit later, a woman pulled up.  She said that the aurora had been "absolutely crazy---reds and purples," last night.  Hmph. The one night of the past three---that I hadn't been out.  :p ;p -Them's the breaks, I guess.

      :) ;)