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Aurora Watch Turns Into Moon Halo Fun

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martinastro
Martin Mc Kenna
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« on: October 11, 2008, 11:25:37 pm »

I was out for 2.5 hours these evening doing an aurora watch after seeing the dramatic surge in activity. It was extremely cold with fog blowing through the fields. I haven't seen any aurora action yet but the watch was not in vain. High level cloud blew in from the W and helped create a fairly nice 22 degree halo around the waxing gibbous Moon. The colours were visible with the naked eye so I took a few images taking advantage of the Saturday night drivers to get car trails.









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brianb
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« Reply #1 on: October 12, 2008, 02:16:07 am »

Said it before, but it's really odd how different our weather is. Around sunset the sky here was essentially overcast with thick cirrostratus which dissipated by 9 pm & it's been almost totally clear ever since. The Moon is a nuisance though, hopefully the sky won't cloud over when it sets like it did last night  Angry The Cs here was too thick for halos, the clearance was as an "edge" moving S or SE rather than a thinning. I'm really surprised you've got substantial high cloud.

Your halo appears to have an upper tangential arc thickening the top of it; a couple of the shots have weird coloured lines in the halo, which I'm guessing are internal lens reflections from the car headlights.
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Big Dipper
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« Reply #2 on: October 12, 2008, 02:57:08 am »

Said it before, but it's really odd how different our weather is. Around sunset the sky here was essentially overcast with thick cirrostratus which dissipated by 9 pm & it's been almost totally clear ever since.

Here in Oxford, the situation has been almost entirely the reverse and I type this as a blanket a of fog prevails outside. Yesterday (Saturday) saw a clear blue sky with very little cloud during the day and extending in to the early evening. Soon after dark conditions turned rather misty and soon became foggy - though I was not totally unsurprised as this had been forecast by the Met Office.

Can't grumble though as I have had FIVE clear nights over this past week. Indeed the weather can stay like this for a few nights more as the Moon approached full and becomes more northerly in declination.
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Andy
martinastro
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« Reply #3 on: October 12, 2008, 03:30:38 am »

You are correct Brian about the lens flare. It was caused by the car head lights. The artefact is visible on the first two images but not on the third because the lights are going away from the camera. There does look to be an enhancement on the halo top, no doubt an UTA of some kind. Later I seen two very faint Moondogs but they were not photogenic so I let them be.

Yes, it's amazing how locally different our weather can be. Could it be something to do with your location being closer to the coast than mine?. Maybe temp, moisture difference?. It was a constant changing affair here. After sunset there was hazy cloud. This took some time to drfit eastward followed by a lovely clearance. High level cirrus gathered in the southern dome of the sky and stayed over the Moon producing those atmospheric optics for an hour or so. At the same time the N, NE, NW, and W sky was clear for aurora watching. It was bitterly cold with patchy low fog. At mightnight numerous cumulus filled in then at 03.00 it was completely clear. The Moon will be setting very shortly as I write this so I'm going back out for another session. There's an air frost here now. Good luck if you guys are out observing before dawn.
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Tyler
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« Reply #4 on: October 12, 2008, 04:41:59 am »

I was watching for auroras too, and turned into taking shots of moon halos. Its still pretty cloudy, but if any strong auroras arrive, I should be able to capture them to some degree. Itll be a long night!
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Tyler
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« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2008, 04:42:58 am »

oh yeah, Ill post some of the lunar halo images tommarow morning ( and hopefully some aurora images too!)
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Roman White
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« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2008, 10:32:04 am »

Nice images, Martin  Smiley
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brianb
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« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2008, 10:50:50 am »

Quote
Yes, it's amazing how locally different our weather can be. Could it be something to do with your location being closer to the coast than mine?.
Don't see how that affects high cloud! But yes, the coast does have an effect - especially with a showery airstream off the sea, which is often near continuous rain here. Last night clear from 9:00 pm (BST) till 03:30 am, early high cloud slid away S or SE then completely clear with good transparency until high cloud (? could have been thin stratus) spread in from the West. Wind was calm early, then a land breeze sprang up, the temperature was cool but not cold (around 5C most of the night, min 3.9C). Patchy fog first thing this morning, now dissipated, sky 100% thin altostratus.
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martinastro
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2008, 10:29:18 pm »

My morning session was a disaster. I was in the country again looking for aurora when dense fog rolled in from the Sperrins. Everything went unnaturally dark arround me. Combined with the dead calm conditions and complete silence I soon had an uneasy feeling so got out of there immediately. It was a bit unsettling out there at 05.30 so I trusted my instincts and went home.

Look forward to your images Tyler.
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Tyler
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2008, 11:34:11 pm »

well, its not as clear as martin's halo shots, but it was pretty obvious that there was a halo.



heres a shot, I took a few days earlier, I just dont think its solo topic worthy quite yet. (maybe under dark skies)
23min shutter I think at f/13
« Last Edit: October 12, 2008, 11:38:48 pm by Tyler » Report Spam   Logged

Roman White
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« Reply #10 on: October 13, 2008, 07:31:53 am »

23min shutter I think at f/13
Very nice  Smiley
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Steveo74
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« Reply #11 on: October 13, 2008, 02:10:58 pm »

Nice shots guys... 

Martin, nice car trails in your shots...  Smiley
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Thanks,
         Steven..

Visit my Blog http://steviesskyshack.blogspot.com

Visit my Flickr  http://www.flickriver.com/photos/16671294@N07/
martinastro
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« Reply #12 on: October 13, 2008, 06:59:07 pm »

Thanks for the feedback guys.

Tyler, I really like those images. Looks like a good quality halo. I like the composition with the house and Jeep. You must have a good wide angle lens for that. Great star trails too...really gives a sense of the Earth's rotation. I love star trails. Thanks for sharing those.  Smiley
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