This was a relatively faint aurora. Shows up well in photos, but hardly visible to the naked eye. Taken from Mount Pack Monadnock, New Hampshire. That’s the moon setting on the left, and lights from Manchester on the right.
The elusive green flash captured in 2006 from Key West.
As the sun gets low in the sky, its light is refracted through a thicker and thicker section of the atmosphere. Eventually, the atmosphere not only refracts the light but begins to disperse it. Redder colors towards the horizon, and greener near the sun’s top.
As the last bit of sun vanishes below the horizon, there is a fraction of a second when only the green portion is left.
For many years, the Green Flash was only observed visually and was thought to be a complimentary color after-image on the retina caused by the disappearance of the bright red sun below the horizon. Only after the invention of color photography was the Green Flash captured on film and its true nature understood.
This shot was taken in central Nevada while on vacation. it is REALLY dark there – to get this detail in a 2-minute exposure. The foreground is illuminated by starlight, and Wendover Utah, about 30 miles away.
Melissa, Tom and I travelled down to Florida for the launch of STS-127 on Friday, July 10th. The launch was scheduled for the 11th, but it was scrubbed before we even headed out to the cape – there had been 11 lightning strikes near the shuttle the previous evening.
On Sunday the 12th, we tried again and this time we made it all the way to the launch viewing area before the launch was scrubbed for weather once again. The decision was made during the 45-minute hold at the T minus 9 minute point, but it was pretty clear to everyone well before that – we could see dark clouds and lightning throughout the area.
Launch Viewing Area
Monday the 13th was try number three. Once again, we got out to the launch viewing area and all looked pretty good until the end of the 45-minute hold. A thunderstorm cell just to the north was growing and we saw lightning once again just after they called the scrub.
Me (right) and Tom
Based on the forecast, NASA decided not to even try on the following day, and the day after, the 15th, was when we were scheduled to fly home. Of course, the launch went off without a hitch on the 15th! We watched it on NASA TV on our iPhones while at the airport. Our current plan is to try again for the STS-131 in March. Not only will there be less thunderstorms, but the temperature and humidity will be closer to what humans can actually survive.
Camcorder & Telescope Setup
In any case, I got a good test of my camcorder and telescope system for photographing the launch. Remember, the viewing area is seven miles from the launch pad. Here is the test footage, plus a few pelicans that were near the launch viewing area.