RESULTS FROM THE FEBRUARY 2014 ALASKA AURORA TRIP
by Paul D. Maley, NASA Johnson Space Center Astronomical Society
Wow! This was an amazing trip. Here was our 4th trip to Alaska in order to observe the Northern Lights. Aurora were successfully viewed on 4 out of 4 nights—an absolute record– by our group of 11 persons. Our team included Owen and Eva-Lynn Leibman, Byron and Sharon Braswell, Lynn Palmer, Carol and Mike Wilson, Marcia Krull, Merrill Deming, Nancy Braithwaite and Paul Maley. The following is a sample of some of the images from our trip.
March 1, “all sky tube” aurora by B. Braswell. Nikon D7100, 10mm f/2.8, ISO1600, 6 sec. Exposures by Braswell that follow have the same specs.
Even through the clouds the aurora punched through. B. Braswell photo. 6 seconds.
An overhead auroral fan. B. Braswell photo. 6 seconds.
An auroral fan develops into a swirl. B. Braswell photo. 5 second exposure.
One of the highlights was being able to attend the skijorg races. Here are some of images from that event.
Skijorg race images by P. Maley
There is a good reason to look out for moose. They present a hazard to motorists at night but also potentially to visitors who come between a calf and his mother.
At our base of operations (Taste of Alaska Lodge) I did spot the semi-resident moose calf (below) and was able to keep a safe distance to get some photos.
Although the temperatures ranged from a high one day of 44 (but generally in the 20’s) to lows of around -6 to +1, it was not cold enough to prevent ice cream (below) which had been sitting outside overnight from becoming soft.
ISO800, 25 seconds, 14mm f/2.8 lens, Nikon D3100. Aurora bunny by P. Maley
Ring of Fire Expeditions 4th Alaska Aurora Viewing Tour group shot with 2 persons missing. P. Maley photo.
Iridium flare image. 15 second exposure with 14mm F/.2.8 lens by P. Maley
Feb. 28, 10 seconds at ISO800. 14mm F/2.8 lens. P. Maley photo.
Bright aurora fan with Polaris and the Big Dipper immersed in it. Feb 27, 10 second exposure, f/5 with 11mm lens, ISO1600. L. Palmer photo.
Lying under the aurora can be done either in the snow but sometimes more comfortably in a chair. 10 sec exposure, 11mm lens at f/5 at ISO1600, Nikon D3100. L. Palmer photo.
Intense aurora with someone walking toward us with a red flashlight on. 20 second exposure, ISO800 with 14mm f/2.8 lens. P. Maley photo.
One of the most impressive auroral swirls with B. Braswell in foreground. 30 second exposure at ISO800, 14mm lens at f/2.8. P.Maley photo.
A dramatic shape. 10 seconds, ISO1600 11mm lens f/5. L. Palmer photo.
It was not clear 100% of the time. Lights of Fairbanks Feb 28, 15 second exposure f/5, 11mm lens at ISO1600. L. Palmer photo.
Is this an auroral version of a tornado? The phenomenon does take on unusual shapes, this being one of them. 8 second exposure ISO800, 14mm lens at f/2.8. P.Maley photo.
I found it hard to break away from photography no matter how cold it got. Photo of this author by B. Braswell.
Group photo by B. Braswell. Front row (left to right) Owen Leibman, Eva-Lynn Leibman, Paul Maley, Lynn Palmer, Marcia Krull, Sharon Braswell. Back row (left to right) Nancy Braithwaite, Merrill Deming, Mike Wilson, Carol Wilson, Byron Braswell.
Immaculate Conception Church in Fairbanks. B. Braswell photo.
The Chena River in downtown Fairbanks in early March. B. Braswell photo.
A musher with his dog. M. Krull photo.
Dogs at Chena Lodge. M. Krull photo.
Arctic sunset. M. Krull photo.