Monday, June 29, 2009

Amazing June 24th Aurora's

Date has been corrected for the few folks who read this thing :}

Yeah I know a week later I get around to posting about it. Well really a week late is pretty good for me...

Anyway, on the 24th there was an amazing display of seemingly non-stop auroras going on. They were incredibly bright, so bright they were reflecting off the station! I had never seen anything like this the whole time I've been down here. Thankfully, I finally have figured out how to take night shots so I threw my gear on, grabbed the camera and a tripod and took off. I was outside a total of about 4 hours just chasing the aurora around. The photos you will see are the ones I submitted for our sitrep cover photo. We send a sitrep down to denver/nsf every week. Up til now Cully has been stealing the show with his awesome shots, hopefully a few of these will make it into the foray. Almost all of the photos I took turned out really good, I just love seeing the milky way in the photos. It seems so sci-fi.

This is Destination Alpha (DA), the main entrance into the station. You can also see the silhouette of DSL in the background.

This is shot from under the station looking towards DA.

I tried to get a full shot of the station from the southern side, but the darn exhaust from the power plant blurred and dulled the images too much. This was as far as I could go behind the station and not have the exhaust affect/effect (can never remember which is correct) the shot.

This is the ceremonial pole, with DSL in the background again, with a B&W version as well. Some of these shots look really cool in B&W

Same basic shot as above, just a little further back to show more of the actual pole, not just the sphere.

After I was satisfied with the station shots, I went inside let Krissie know I was going back out for more photos rather than stay and eat lunch. I decided to head towards the telescope. It seemed like a good idea since that's where the auroras were heading for one, and I really like the shots we have hanging on the walls with the scope and the auroras.

It was really just insane what the auroras were doing. This is heading towards the scope down the flagged path. DSL is in the center and the other red light to its left is the IceCube Laboratory(ICL)

Here's looking back on the station, I really love this photo. If only the milky way or an aurora would have been there, oh well.

I somehow forgot to take any spare batteries when I decided to take the long trek out to the telescope. And with that being said of course the dang battery I had froze up on me part way there. Granted I could have turned around and gone back to the station to get the spare batteries when I realized I had forgotten them, but I was worried I would miss the auroras over the telescope if I did that. So I had to wait inside the main building of DSL while I tried to defrost the one battery I had that was freezing. I decided keeping it down the front of my pants was probably the warmest spot on my person, which would warm the battery up quicker allowing me to go back outside as soon as possible. Let me tell you that was one cold battery! Erik was there so I chitty chatted with him a bit, had some hot apple cider and some graham crackers and then headed back out side to get the last few shots before the battery went ca put again.

This is DSL, I really wanted the scope to be pointed a bit more downward for my shots, but apparently their "science" is far more important than my photos!

This was shot with no external lighting and is well, very dark. I do like B&W version a bit more than the color, but whatev.

Thankfully I remembered to bring my headlamp with me and was able to use it to brighten up the shots with the scope. Now whether or not I was technically allowed to do this is unknown. I only thought about that after I got back to the station and looked at the photos thinking, hmm I hope that didn't screw anything up for them. I think I was safe since they are not actually looking for anything in the visible light spectrum. I'll have to ask Ross or Erik about it, and see if there were any "anomalies" that night with their data...

My headlamp has white leds and a normal light bulb with a red film covering it since we're supposed to just use red lights outside. This shot was taken with the red portion of my lamp.

And this was taken with the white, shh don't tell anyone. I only had it on the scope for a short period of time. I have another photo where the white light was on it the whole time, but this one just looks better imho(imho means in my humble opinion mom ;} ). The other one looks like a normal day light shot with a night background superimposed, kind of cool.

This photo I started with the white portion of the lamp and then used the red portion.

And the final photo for this long blog is one of ICL, a very distant ICL as the shot was taken from DSL. I wanted to get closer but my battery died not long after this photo. It would have been really cool to get some shots of the lab with that amazing aurora hovering over it. Oh well, lesson learned.

Now I hope these photos have helped to answer the question of why I wanted to be down here for the winter season :}


Anonymous said...

It's only June. Not July 24th:>

Slartibartfast said...

Nice work! Could deal with an upload of full res pics when you get a chance...

Might've found a new place - it's on the other corner of the block :) -Ian-

CJ said...

The picture of the base with the stars in the background is amazing!