Norwegian Observing Blog (Damian & Jules)

22/12/2016:

Of course we went out last night (Wednesday 21st) and managed  to just see the faintest of whisps through the murk – and I mean faint… well, the camera picked up more than the eye!

We went out earlier today (Thursday 22nd) despite the iffy forecast, although it did say there might be a chance to view the aurora around 7pm… I think I was set up around 4.30 and by 5 or so there were subtle hints So I used the time Instead to try some arty night time photography and an attempt at a 10 minute star trail….Julie had gone for a sauna. Another half hour passed and things started to happen!

I texted J furiously to tell her to get dressed back up in the winter gear and head out…

The aurora was subtle earlier as mentioned – beautiful faint tendrils of grey light…

Then it was like someone switched on a light. Not like a few nights ago with a frantic/energetic display, more like 6-10 green (with hints of pink) elastic bands of light filling the night sky – all overhead it was difficult to know where to look!

The battery eventually died but I learnt a trick from our in house photographers to put the battery under my armpit – thankfully it worked and I was able to grab another 20 odd shots to record the event!

A Dutch couple missed that – they had gone in after seeing the ‘subtle’ display…

So after dinner they asked us to join them in a different location…. the sky was thick with solid cloud. We came to the bridge after a 1.5 Km snowshoe walk and after 15 minutes or so the sky did start to clear.

Then the aurora came out to play again, weak to start with but then stronger.

After it had started to fade we headed back. A bridge at the 300 metre mark back to the lodge I said I would stay on my own  – J said she would stay with me. No less than a minute later the sky erupted – it was so bright I had to reduce the exposure time to try and stop it clipping the bright points and try to get some of the details (rather than just a fuzzy blob!) AMAZING!

We have. Even so lucky I can’t believe it – I’m absolutely buzzing!

J has gone back, the aurora has gone, the clouds are encroaching… at the end of this last star trail exposure, I’m heading back…

I think a RAG presentation could be in the pipeline!

23/12/2016:

Got back this morning around 1.30 to the lodge (didn’t get attacked on my own either by elk or wolverine – despite the many tracks in the snow – although I did have multiple (borrowed) headlamps and the snowshoes make a hell of a noise to scare anything off!!!) Was buzzing so much that I didn’t really sleep and the alarm went off at 5 this morning…. taking the cases to the drive this morning and the aurora was still putting on a (different sort of) display…

Now at Oslo airport awaiting the flight to Heathrow and feeling slightly worse for wear!

Once we’ve got to the gate I hope to take a look at all the shots taken yesterday….

Have to say it was a great place to be for observing – clear skies and zero light pollution down to the horizon in every direction, you can understand why Nick raves about Skye…

Damian

2 Responses

  1. I wish I was there with you! Sounds magnificent – although also sounds rather cold. Makes me also wonder whether telescopes dew up easily in the artic circle? Or whether the grease goes cold and no longer lubricates the bearings well. I guess that artic observing must come with its own problems!
    Andy

  2. Lovely, absolutely nothing prepares you for a full dancing display. You expect there to be music ! It’s a life changer , making you realise our tiny place in it the grand scheme. Can be a very humbling shock to the system !

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