Friday, 20 March 2015

Just a glimpse

Although it has been a good week in the garden it's been remarkably frustrating in other ways.  I don't want for much in my life, but I am desperate to see the Northern Lights for myself.  With a huge solar flare at the beginning of the week the likelihood of a good display was getting the sky-watching community more than a little excited.  The KP-index was almost off the scale and the sky seemed clear, so on Tuesday night I set off.  After packing the car with every camera in the house, every spare (fully charged) battery, every memory card I could lay my hands on, tripod, warm clothes and a couple of flasks of hot drink I headed north for our usual beach on the Solway Firth.

Long story short:  I arrived.  I sat and waited, and waited, and waited.  I wandered around and looked at 360º of very dark sky.  I got increasingly freaked out about being in a pitch dark, isolated spot by myself (M. was in London, although he knew where I'd gone, and Daisy was at home) even though I knew perfectly well there was no-one around and absolutely no danger.

I came home around 1.30am.  What I probably should have done was sit in the garden.  What I did was come inside, talk to Daisy and look online ... to find jaw droppingly gob-smackingly beautiful images of the aurora taken at Whitehaven harbour - 10 miles south of here.  I don't know if I was too early, too late, or just plain unlucky.  I do know I was extremely tired the following morning.

Friday morning was the eclipse.  After two days of wall-to-wall sunshine we woke to thick cloud.  Daisy and I went for a short walk as the eclipse approached totality and although we couldn't see anything we certainly experienced it.  Lack of light, temperature dropped dramatically and the world just felt so different.

The astronomy Gods took pity on us a little later as the clouds parted briefly.  Using 'proper' safety glasses we were able to watch as the clouds came and went, and came again.  Towards the end I grabbed a camera and pointed it to roughly the right part of the sky.   Given I wasn't looking through the viewfinder I'm quite pleased.  It's not much but certainly better than nothing :-}


 







12 comments:

  1. Just read this post and last. Your garden is going to look spectacular and do hope it's good for next year too!!!!!!! We evidently had a light show earlier in the week as well, but around 3-5 am. Of course most people didn't know about it till we got up, as it wasn't expected. I saw one in the early eighties when we lived in a mountainous area and it was quite eerie as I didn't realise what it was. I was half asleep, having got up to see to one of the kids, but I still remember a faint colouring of the sky, sort of going in waves. Maybe next time for you and Whitehaven's not all bad (lol). Take care.

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    1. Thank you Susan, glad you've had a chance to see the Lights. Who knows, you might see some in Whitehaven if you get back to England next year, ha ha ha.

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  2. Such a shame and so frustrating. I wonder why you didn't see it, you certainly seemed to be in the right place at the right time I think I would have been a bit freaked out at being in an isolated place by myself at that time of night.

    Great shots of the eclipse, I'm so pleased you got to see it and feel quite envious that you experienced it outside, the lowered light levels and the drop in temperature and the birds going to roost. I stayed inside by the fire until almost the end when the clouds cleared and it warmed up enough for me to wander out into the garden.

    Fingers crossed you will see the aurora eventually, you are certainly in a good place. I was upset not to be in Scotland last week but obviously no guarantees that I would have seen it either and I don't think I would have seen anything of the eclipse!

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    1. Thanks Jill, we experienced the 1999 eclipse so I remembered what totality would be like. Your pictures were great, hope it made up for not being in Scotland.

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  3. I would have been extremely frustrated too... the aurora is definitely on my bucket list. I didn't realise that it is so location specific.. like showers.. I kind of assumed when it happened it covered the sky.

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    1. I agree Jessica, so I can only assume I was there at the wrong time. Apparently aurora 'come and go' during a display.

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  4. The eclipse was a non-event here too. I was very disappointed, considering I "probably" won't be around for the next one in 2090!

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    1. I don't think any of us will manage the next eclipse visible from here :} Could you manage Spain in 11 years?

      NASA - eclipse

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  5. It was just so odd, the effect on the light and so on, wasn't it. Odd but really special.

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  6. Your trek to see the Northern Lights was that of a true enthusiast such a pity it wasn't successful

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    1. Never mind Sue, there will be another aurora chance much sooner than the next eclipse!

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