early 2017

by underswansea

_lme3048Green and red aurora and a faint meteor.
The white light at the base of the mountains is from the town of Radium Hot Springs.

To our delight the skies have cleared. The days are crisp and cold. Willow and I took the opportunity to head into the bush for a nighttime stroll and take a few photos.

The thing is, when it clears in January it usually gets cold. I checked the temp and it dipped to -32°c. At that temperature even the brass monkey isn’t safe!

However, it’s been so long since we had clear skies I couldn’t pass it up. The conditions were good. The waxing moon would set early and the Quadrantids meteor shower would possibly be underway.

I saw six fast meteors near the handle of the Big Dipper. No pictures, as it is difficult with the tripod I use to point my camera directly skyward where they seemed to be flying.

In the early morning hours the Northern Lights started to glow and even lit the landscape. I was hoping they would spike and dance but no luck.

Back at the computer this morning I looked to see if the Aurora had been predicted. NASA’s Solar Observatory has observed a large coronal hole in the sun’s atmosphere. This has allowed solar wind to escape. It should reach Earth on the 4th or 5th, possibly causing exciting Northern Lights. Perhaps last night was a prelude of things to come.

If it remains clear Willow and I will be out looking.

Regardless of the chilly weather, this is a wonderful time to watch the stars. Venus is brilliant in the evening sky, Jupiter is bright from midnight to dawn and Orion rules the winter sky the entire night.

The Milky Way is low on the horizon in the morning. In the coming months it will swing towards the northeast and reveal more of the centre of our home galaxy.

If you choose to go out stay warm. By the time I got back in I had an innie and I’m not talking about my bellybutton!

Very fine skies.