Friday, January 13, 2017

Finding the lunar fog bow

A month ago I had never seen a lunar fog bow, now I have seen three. I got to see my first lunar fog bow on December 17 last year. Last night I got to see two more of these elusive phenomena. We had lots of fog around the city of Östersund and since it was the night of the full moon, I drove around chasing locations where I could see these beautiful bows.

I got two relatively good ones on photo two hours apart. I've included the time and height of the Moon when the photos was taken.

This is something I really love with this type of photography, learning about new phenomena and how and when to see them. After seeing my first lunar fog bow I new how it looked like and what conditions to look for. Last night there where perfect fog bow conditions so it was just a matter of finding the right spot. The moon light needs to be bright so the days around full moon is best. Also the light from the moon can't be to obscured by the fog and you need to have rather dense fog in the opposite direction of the moon. So try to find a location where you're standing just beneath the top of the fog, then you are inside the fog but the moon light is still bright enough to light up the bow.

Also, as you can see by these two photos, a lunar fog bow works exactly as a rainbow, the height of the bow is determined by the height of the light source (Sun/Moon), so if the moon is too high in the sky > ~35° the fog bow won't be visible. A rainbow has a radius of 42° so if the Sun's altitude in the sky is more than 42°, a rainbow can't be visible. The same goes for a fog bow, but it has a much broader radius, 30-45°. So, the lower the altitude of the Sun/moon is, the higher the bow is.

Good luck bow hunting!





















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Friday, January 6, 2017

Galaxies in the mountains

We're living on a small planet we call Earth. Our planet is located about two-thirds of the way out from the center of out home galaxy the Milky Way, that's about 26,000 light-years away from the center. In this photo you can see the Milky Way stretching up in the sky from behind the mountains.

Our closest neighboring galaxy is the Andromeda galaxy, it's located about 2,5 million light-years. It is the most distant object in the sky that you can see with your unaided eye. Here you can see Andromeda close to the center of the photo as a small disc shaped object. It apparent size in the sky is actually four times the size of a full Moon, but since its outer regions are so dim, we just see the much brighter center of the galaxy.

These two galaxies are actually on a collision course and will eventually merge together. But don't worry, it won’t happen for another 4 billion years. But just for a second, try to imagine what it will look like when Andromeda is much closer to us, that will really be some view.

The bright shining object down to the left is the Moon. At the time of this photo it was about 40% lit but since I used a long exposure time to expose for the Milky Way, the Moon is extremely over exposed.

This photo is a 7 shot panorama shot using a Nikon D810A with a Nikon AF-S 14-24 mm f/2.8 lens. Exposure for each photo was 20 seconds, ISO 1600 with f/4.0

Two galaxies in the night sky

























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Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Mars, Moon and Venus

Last night we could see three celestial bodies in the evening sky. In the upper left corner you see a small bright dot, that's planet Mars. Then to the right of the crescent moon you can see planet Venus. This photo was taken just after sunset when the Sun lit up the higher clouds in a very beautiful way. On the horizon you can see the mountains being covered by really low clouds.

I really love these close encounters in our solar system, I get such a strong presence of us sitting on a planet orbiting a star together with the other planets.

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Mars, Moon and Venus in the evening sky.














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Friday, December 30, 2016

Another lap completed

Another year is coming to an end and planet Earth has completed another lap around the Sun. This year has been exciting in many ways with the release of my new book Light-year - a year of light and the release of 5 stamps with my Northern light photos.

As for astronomical events we got to see a Mercury transit in May and later in the summer I went further up north above the arctic circle to capture the midnight summer solstice Sun. The Northern lights season kicked off quite early this year and I did manage to find the the Northern light factory. Also we had an exceptional super moon in November and for me the year ended with a real highlight, seeing a lunar fog bow, such a beauty!

I wish you all a happy new year and lots of clear skies in 2017!

A small planet flying through space and time.

























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Monday, December 19, 2016

Rare lunar fog bow with Northern lights

Throughout the years I've seen lots of different phenomena in the sky but one that have been on my bucket list for quite some time is the very rare lunar fog bow. I've seen photos of it but I've never seen it in real life, until now. This Saturday turned out to be my lucky night. I hadn't planed to go out at all but after having a look to the north a saw some faint Northern Lights so I decided to head out to see if the activity would increase.

After an hour or so I decided to drive to another location and after parking the car I started walking on the frozen shoreline of lake Storsjön. After walking a couple of hundred of meters I looked up and could clearly see this lunar fog bow. I immediately stopped and pulled out my camera from my backpack to start taking some photos of it. While shooting I felt so excited and happy to finally see this beautiful white fog bow, it was more beautiful than I ever excepted. And as a bonus there were some Northern Lights visible at the same time.

After a while and while the camera was exposing I wanted to text a very good friend of mine that I was seeing my first ever lunar fog bow. While typing I could see my fingers shiver of excitement and I once again realized how much these beautiful phenomena of nature actually means to me.

A fog bog is pretty much the same as a rainbow. It's located in the opposite direction of the Moon and it's height correlates to the height of the Moon in the same way a rainbows height correlates to the height of the Sun. Fog bows are almost white with faint reds on the outside and blues inside. The colors are so washed out because the bow in each color is very broad and the colors overlap.

My first ever lunar fog bow

















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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Upcoming Geminid meteor shower

During one of my recent exposures of the Northern lights I caught this big meteor burning up in the atmosphere. Seeing these really bright meteors is always a joy and hopefully we'll see more of them now when we're closing in on the Geminid meteor shower that peaks on December 14th.

























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Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Looking back in time

When observing the night sky we're looking back in time. The light from the stars we see have traveled for many years before it reaches us here on Earth. In this photo of the Milky Way and an old church ruin, we can take a look in the past.

The big red nebula near the center is the North American Nebula. The light from this nebula had been traveling for about 1500 years before it reach my camera this night. As a comparison, the old ruin in the foreground is from a church that was build 900 years ago. When they started building that church in 1200 AD, the nebula light I caught on this night had done 60% of it's distance to Earth.

At the top of the image you can see the Andromeda galaxy as a small disc shaped object under the tree. The light from Andromeda has traveled for 2,5 billion years before it reach my camera. When that light started its journey, the first members of the genus Homo appeared on Earth.

It's quite mind blowing to think of this while standing under a starry night sky.

Nikon D810A + Nikon 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14 mm f/2.8
Exposure 20 sec. at ISO 3200


























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Saturday, November 26, 2016

Half moon rises

Earlier this week I went out to photograph the Northern Lights and got some great images. On my way home I had planed to take photos of the 50% lit moon rising above the horizon. I had scouted this location where I would get the big residential house Fagerskrapan and the Vallsundsbron bridge in the foreground. I was very pleased to see that the water in lake Storsjön was still so the city lights reflected very nicely in the water.

Shooting moonrises like this is always a thrill and I enjoy the planning and scouting as much as the photo shoot itselves.

Two shot panorama with a Nikon D800E and Nikon AF-S 600 mm f/4


























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