Aurora borealis under a full moon
September 21, 2011 11:57 AM   Subscribe

We've seen some gorgeous images (and some videos) of aurora borealis on the blue, but have you seen aurora borealis with a full moon? "The aurora has to be bright and strong to be visible on the blue sky created by the moon. This does not happen so very often, which makes pictures like these extremely rare."

Notes: The some videos link is the same clip as the one embedded in The Atlantic's page here, which was previously linked but possibly overlooked in discussions of the Milky Way.

Kerstin Langenberger [Flickr profile] has also captured some great photos of Eyjafjallajokull (that eruption was previously discussed).
posted by filthy light thief (14 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite

 
Beautiful. Thanks for posting.
posted by essexjan at 12:07 PM on September 21, 2011


If I witnessed this in person I would think that my mind was playing tricks on me. Incredible.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 12:08 PM on September 21, 2011


Yep, it's amazing what some people can do with Photoshop and Curves adjustment.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:43 PM on September 21, 2011


Eponysterical.
posted by daniel_charms at 12:43 PM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


These photos are beautiful but they don't show what it would look like to be there in person. These are long exposure shots that make the landscape merely appear as if in daylight. (see the completely blurred waterfall in the fourth link).
posted by longsleeves at 12:49 PM on September 21, 2011


...but have you seen aurora borealis with a full moon?
Yes. And I will be smug about it until the day I die.

I agree with longsleeves that the photo likely isn't representative. I'm not an expert at all, but on the moonlit nights that I was watching, the aurora was very pale green-white to the naked eye. We mistook it for high, faint cloud at first. Once we cottoned on, setting my camera to 60 or 120sec exposures yeilded photos of green arcs against a blue-black sky and a much brighter landscape. Not as nice as the linked pic (which is beautiful, and I wasn't able to get the aurora and the moon into the same field), but my long-exposure pictures were definitely closer to the linked pic than to the eyewitness experience.

With the moon below the horizon, the arcs and patches of colour were far brighter and much more intense, actually pretty similar to what that pic shows (albeit against a black background). The ones we saw were mostly green, although on our last night we saw an amazing display with huge purple and green arcs writhing across the sky. You could easily imagine that sort of thing starting religions. Even as a science geek, seeing such awesome amounts of power produce something so beautiful was awe-inspiring.

I also saw what I'm pretty sure was the ISS fly through (well, over) the aurora... practically a religious experience for me.

/End smug-mode. For now.
posted by metaBugs at 1:37 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I also saw what I'm pretty sure was the ISS fly through (well, over) the aurora...

The Hunter, the station, and the southern lights
posted by homunculus at 1:54 PM on September 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Aurora in Hiding
posted by homunculus at 1:55 PM on September 21, 2011


The Hunter, the station, and the southern lights
...wow. That's amazing.
posted by metaBugs at 2:26 PM on September 21, 2011


Glass Igloos with Magnificent Northern Lights Views
posted by homunculus at 2:50 PM on September 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I felt like some of those are cheating reality, but they were the first time I've seen so starkly moonlit landscapes and nearly bright blue skies. Maybe it's all a trick of prolonged exposures, but the tricks are pretty spiffy.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:41 PM on September 21, 2011


In the USN, it's the Arctic Bat caught on the fantail.

I know it's a bit late, but hopefully it stings someones memory.
posted by Mblue at 9:16 PM on September 21, 2011


Dibs on the name "Aurora Borealis on the Blue" for a band.
posted by IndigoRain at 12:39 AM on September 22, 2011


I just heard about this recently, this is one of the wonders in the sky that you can see with the naked eye. Depending on light refraction and deposits, the colors can really be magnificient.
posted by radioguy at 10:07 PM on October 1, 2011


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