University Lowbrow Astronomers

Aurora Photographs

This page contains images produced by members of the University Lowbrow Astronomers.

Aurora of October 28, 2000
by Mark Deprest

Aurora Photograph 1
Aurora Photograph 2
Aurora Photograph 3

Well, last night (October 28, 2000) was an Open House that won’t soon be forgotten, by both members and guests. Besides being an incredibly clear evening (maybe a little on the cool side), it featured Venus, Uranus, Saturn and Jupiter all of which provided spectacular sights in all the scopes, and there were plenty of telescopes to look through, I counted 16 (its getting crowded on the hill).

The real high point of the evening started almost as soon as 7:00pm when I noticed what appeared to be a reddish glow in the northern sky, someone said that it was just Lorna setting fire to the cars in the parking lot, (don’t you just hate when people can’t parallel park), but when we realized it was an Aurora Display we knew this night would be special. And it did not disappoint anyone who was lucky enough to be there.

The aurora display went on most of the evening and came in waves that lasted twenty to thirty minutes. The displays would start with a very pronounced brightening of the northern horizon and then sometimes rise into at green luminescent curtain that would extend all the way to the zenith. Most of the time these would fade slowly into deep red and leave a reddish afterglow to that area of the sky. Then a brilliant shaft of blue-green light would climb into the sky in a matter if a few seconds, this shaft would be no more than 2 or 3 degrees in width at first then it would gradually widen and slowly turn red. The aurora activity was somewhat confined to the northern quarter of the sky, with the widest display ranging from about 280 degrees (in the northwest) to about 70 degrees (in the northeast). There were at least three of us on the hill that brought cameras, so get ready for a color issue of the Newsletter. More later.

Exposure Info

The photographs were taken by Mark Deprest at Peach Mountain on the evening described above. He used a Pentax 35mm manual focus camera using Fuji 200 Superia color print film, the exposures were about 15 to 30 seconds. Adobe Photoshop was used to enhance the contrast.

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