N. Wyoming Aurora Sept 8, 2000 3:00am
Story, Wyo 'Scenic Turnaround' (44* 34' 45"N 106* 52' 27"W 4946 ft.)
This is a 40 sec. exposure Kodak 400, pushed 1 time piggybacked and unguided.
The 4x6 print isn't as grainy. The constellation on the left is Ursa Major. The line
at left is a plane's strobe and probably about 1 sec per dot.
The line on the right is a car on Interstate 90 North of Buffalo, heading to Sheridan.
Only the largest two spikes were visible with my naked eye. The seeing limit that
night was about 6.1, but the wind was causing a lot of turbulence. Well I made it
all night Thursday-Friday(5am), to show my father and new stepmother &
stepbrother, the moon, which really seemed to fascinate them, we couldn't see the
Pacman crater this time.
Jupiter & Saturn, which where really low for the windy conditions in N. Wyo. were
not a good sight. And of course you have to show those other standards to beginners,
M31, M57, M51, M13. ....then....all alone....it happened....
I was resting my eyelids, until the moon went down and at 11:43pm I opened them
to gaze north at a ~-8th mag. metallic green meteor that went straight down into the
bowl of the Big Dipper. Chunks broke off and the trail 'paused' in the middle ????
It cast a eerie shadow on my scope and lit up the inside of the van. The trail (broken)
lasted at least 10 seconds. I even looked away and blinked....it was still there. And was
I the only one who saw this incredible sight? No, the sheriff deputies that stopped later
around 2:30AM to ask what I was ' up to' saw something at that same time when they
were about 30 miles west near Dayton.
They saw the ground light up, they just hadn't known what it was. Two more astronomy
converts??? Is that all you get, you ask?? NO, with that green ghost we send you, no,
not a false summer sunrise, not an Iridium satellite, but an extended, spikey AURORA,
not those cheap 5 minute display that leaves you hungry for more, but a 50* glow across
the northern sky and spikes up into the bowl of the Big Dipper and yes, suitable for printing.
Exposures were from 20 sec. to 1 min.
Galactic Home ......tjt