Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Return of the Northern Lights

Yes! Tonight I got to see my first Northern Lights for this season. Finally the season begins after several months of waiting. In a couple of weeks we will have astronomical nights so then the display will be even better.

The landscape is lit up by a 96% waxing gibbous Moon.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Perseid, Aurora and NLC - Astronomy Picture Of the Day at NASA

Today I'm featured as Astronomy Picture Of the Day at NASA with my photo of a Perseid, Aurora and Noctilucent Clouds. It was taken during last year's Perseid meteor shower. That night was the first night of the season I saw the Northern Lights and it was also the last night I saw some Noctilucent clouds for that summer. This astrophotogrpaher hat trick will be hard for me to repeat but one can always hope for another chance for the upcoming Perseid shower that peaks tomorrow.

Perseid, Northern lights and Noctilucent clouds

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Monday, August 1, 2016

Noctilucent Clouds

Last night I got to see my first Noctilucent clouds up here in Jämtland for this season. These are clouds made of tiny ice crystals high up in the atmosphere that are lit up by the scattered sunlight late at night.

Monday, July 25, 2016

The Midnight Sun

If you go above the artic circle during summer you can witness the midnight Sun. It's really amazing to be out in the middle of the night and still see the Sun above the horizon. You completely loose track of time at night since it feels and looks like it's late afternoon when it's actually past midnight. This is a mosaic picture I've made of 12 photos taken on June 21 in 2016 during the summer solstice in Gällivare, Sweden. The photos were taken between 23:30 and 01:20 local Swedish time. As you can see the Sun never goes down below the horizon.

Midnight Sun during summer solstice.

Friday, July 22, 2016

Don't forget the Earth shadow

I never get tired of seeing our closest star set below the horizon. Seeing how the landscape changes as the warm light gets fainter by the minute. Every sunset has its personality depending och location, weather and season. Here in the higher latitudes we have our bright summer nights and during winter the Sun sets in the afternoon and darkness falls quite fast.

Midwinter sunset with a bright solar halo.

Another beautiful thing about a sunset is what happens right after the Sun has set. If turn around, you can slowly see the Earth shadow rising from the horizon. A low horizon is preferred to get a better view of the phenomena. 

As twilight deepens a dark blue band slowly rises upwards from the horizon. This band is the shadow of the Earth projected on the atmosphere. Above the blue shadow band you can also se a pink band called the anti-twilight arch or "Belt of Venus". The pink color comes from scattered and deeply reddened sunlight mixed with the deep blues colors of the sky.

Moonrise in Earth shadow and Belt of Venus.

The same thing happens before a sunrise. Look in the opposite direction of the rising Sun and you will see the Earth shadow sinking towards the horizon as the Sun rises.

Earth shadow is also visible before sunrise.

So next time you're watching a sunset, stay out a bit longer and don't forget to look behind you to see the Earth shadow rise.

Don't forget to look behind you after sunset.
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Monday, July 4, 2016

Earth at Aphelion

Today Earth is at aphelion, that's the farthest point to the Sun. Since Earth's orbit around the Sun is in an elliptical path, there is one point of the path when the Sun is at its closest to the Earth and one point when it is furthest away. The opposite to aphelion is perihelion, then Earth is nearest to the Sun, next time the Earth is in perihelion will be on the 4th och January in 2017.

Universe Today has an great article on today's event if you would like to read more

This is a shot of today's Sun as seen from aphelion.

Sun as seen from aphelion with scale sized Earth included.

Friday, July 1, 2016

Moonrise in the light of the midnight sun

A magical moonrise over Björkliden, Sweden, in the light of the midnight sun. It's quite amazing to be out in the middle of the night shooting without a tripod since it's so bright under the midnight sun. The U-shaped valley in the distance is called Lapporten.

Friday, June 24, 2016

Happy Midsummer

Today is midsummer's eve here in Sweden, a time to celebrate that the summer has finally arrived. Here's a shot from Björkliden in northern Sweden. In the distance you can see the famous u-shaped valley called Lapporten.