Check out these aMAZing photographs from last week’s Astro Babe trip to northern Minnesota and the Northern Nights Star Fest.
These pictures were taken by a super-talented member of the NPMAS astronomy club here in Green Bay. Rodrigo takes some of the best astronomy and aurora photos around, and we’re very lucky to have his talent, his helpful attitude, and his friendly smile hanging around our club. If I ever get a decent camera, he’ll be one of the first people I turn to for help getting started.
In Rodrigo’s notes, he said he finds the Wolf’s cave nebula, pictured below, a very interesting object. In addition to the dark and reflection nebulae, he said that you can see an old planetary nebula towards the bottom of the picture about six o’clock, and some faint supernova remnants near the reflection nebula.
Rodrigo said that the aurora’s that we saw Saturday night at had a lot of deep blue and violet color, which means a nitrogen emission. He said that he hasn’t seen very much blue in his other aurora pictures in the past, so these photos are a nice addition to his aurora collection. In the aurora pic to the right, you can also see the Andromeda galaxy.
Thanks so much for letting us share these photographs with all our Astro Babe fans, Rodrigo!!
Even though I’m late in posting this, rest assured that the Astro Babes did make it safely home from the Northern Nights Star Fest Sunday night.
The heat stayed with us for the remainder of the star party, but there was dew relief on Saturday night due to a light breeze. We were also treated to some amazing auroras around 11 p.m. Some of our club members took pictures, and I will post one as soon as I can get my hands on one.
We were also treated to lots of lightning that flashed behind the trees at the south end of the observing field for at least an hour. We had originally planned to cover our equipment with plastic and load it up in the morning, but when it looked like rain and storms were zeroing in on us, we joined everyone else and packed up the car in the dark. We headed back Sunday morning.
We had some observing successes, each earning an observing certificate for bagging 15 objects, plus lots of cool peeks into huge 25″ and 30″ Obsessions. And the Minnesota group are great hosts and fun to hang out with and share our love of astronomy. I feel we’ve made a few friends there.
Already looking forward to next year, but crossing fingers that the heat won’t be there to greet us again. Five days of temperatures near 90 and no air conditioning is not for the faint of heart!
The Astro Babes are on a road trip! At nine this morning we hit the road and caravaned seven hours to Palisade, MN, to attend the 6th annual Northern Nights Star Fest.
This is the first Star Party that Amy and I have officially attended and stayed overnight. It’s getting dark now, but because it’s raining, most of the attendees are standing around here in the lodge or watching Astro Fred explain the nitty gritty of processing photographs. Luckily the star party runs till Sunday.
The Clear Sky Chart is solid white (which means clouds) so we’re not even taking the telescope out of the trunk tonight. If by some miracle it clears, we’ve got our trusty binoculars waiting in the wing.
Apparently we missed an amazing night sky on Wednesday night, but due to work commitments we were unable to make it until Thursday. To add insult to injury, it wasn’t just clear and dark…from the photographs we’ve seen, the auroras here last night were spectacular. Sigh. Here’s hoping for another beautiful night before we have to go home.
Northern lights – those beautiful green and red ribbons of dancing light that show up in the northern sky at night. I’m frequently asked – What are they? Before I answer, I ask them what they think.
I get some pretty interesting answers. One person’s theory is that they’re caused by pollution. Another thought it’s the reflection of light off the polar ice cap. I’m pretty sure someone’s theory involved aliens and a government conspiracy.
Thank goodness my hubby was out at his brother’s house in the country one night when the northern lights were doing a dance across the sky. They looked as though the green ribbons were reaching down and touching the horizon. My brother-in-law was a little unnerved by the show until my hubby (who actually does listen to me) explained to him what they were.
The coolest show I’ve ever seen was about ten years ago, when I stood mesmerized in my neighbors driveway (too many trees by me) watching what looked like red ink being poured into the earth’s atmosphere. If I didn’t know what I was seeing, I may have been a little worried about what was happening!
So – in a nutshell – here’s what causes them: It starts with a coronal mass ejection (CME) from the sun, essentially a very large solar flare. Particles from the flare get caught up in our atmosphere and are attracted to the poles (both north and south). These particles are electrically charged and react with the gases in our atmosphere, bringing us the northern lights! For a more detailed explanation you can go to http://www.northernlightscentre.ca/northernlights.html.
So no worries – the next time you happen to catch sight of the northern lights remain calm! Enjoy the show, but first call your astronomy loving friends so they don’t miss out!!