Night Skies

Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis)

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It's a miracle that charged particles from our sun interact with our atmosphere to create light that dances and undulates across the sky!!

The images below shows how they can move and change quickly. (March 2, 2021)

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I took these images from the middle of the lake, on the ice, looking north.

The aurora the last few years (2019-2021) haven't been very active.

The sun has about an 11 year cycle when the sun has more or less sun spots.  The sun  spots are what send the charged particles to earth and cause the auroras.

We have been in the solar minimum (less activity), which scientists think ended in this 11 year cycle in 2019.

Moonscapes

Landscapes lit by the moon

What's really cool about moonscapes is blue sky AND stars.

It is really amazing how much light the moon reflects down on the earth.

These images were taken in the Matanuka River Valley.

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The Moon

Moonrise

Catching the full moon rising when there is enough light in the sky to add some light to the landscape is tricky.

When I first moved to Alaska  from Colorado almost 24 years ago I couldn't figure out what was going on with the moon.

It was moving around a lot more than I was use to. Sometimes coming up almost due south and other times coming up in the northeast. This is because the moons orbit is tilted about 5° to the plane of the Earth's orbit.

Alaska's northern latitude accentuates the effect.

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A tiny crescent moon & early morning light

Crescent moon & Venus in early morning light

Playing in the Dark

It's so peaceful and awe inspiring to be out in the dark with a sky filled with millions of stars!

Night photography is a fun learning experience for me.

It's also challenging, learning how to get good exposures with only the stars and moon to light the landscape while dealing with the cold winter temperatures.

It's so peaceful and awe inspiring to be out in the dark with a sky filled with millions of stars!

This was a special night!

 A night sky filled with bright stars, northern lights peaking over the mountains and a little "light painting" in the kiosk to add some interest to the foreground...magical!

Matanuska Glacier State Park

More northern lights & stars.

(Near Sheep Mountain Lodge - 1 1/2 hours north of Wasilla)

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Stars & northern lights

The northern lights are just barely visible, but the interesting thing is that I took this photo from my kayak in late September before the lake froze.