Total Lunar Eclipse Aurora

Submitted by: David Rosenthal at Sun Nov 21 18:26:01 2004 UTC

I was visiting the southern shore of Hudson Bay in northern Manitoba (59.75 degrees N, 94.0 degrees W) during the total lunar eclipse of 28 October 2004. The moon's eclipsed disk appears as the elongated shape at the upper right. Just as totality began, this auroral display emerged and intensified throughout the event, providing yet another spectacular natural offering. The color appears to be the "forbidden" transition of the oxygen atom at 5577 Angstroms which generally occurs at heights ranging from 90-110 km. Calculating from the geometry of the background stars, this puts the display at a distance of roughly 500 km to the north. The buildings at the lower right are actually a series of high-wheeled, trailer-like vehicles temporarily towed out onto the frozen tundra during October and November. They serve as a base for observing the hundreds of polar bears gathered there waiting for Hudson Bay to freeze so they can move out onto the ice to hunt ringed seals. The photo was taken using a Canon EOS 1Ds digital SLR and a 24 mm wide-angle lens. Exposure was 2 minutes at f/3.5 with an ISO of 200.

Photo by David A. Rosenthal, Copyright 2004, All Rights Reserved


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