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.
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